Engineering & Mining Journal

NOV 2018

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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Page 21 of 83

REGIONAL NEWS - AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA 20 E&MJ • NOVEMBER 2018 Rio Tinto Announces Significant Robe River Investment Rio Tinto, together with joint venture part- ners Mitsui and Nippon Steel & Sumito- mo Metal, have approved an investment of $1.55 billion to sustain production capacity at two projects that form part of the Robe River Joint Venture in the Pilba- ra region of Western Australia. Rio Tinto's 53% share would total $820 million. The joint venture partners will invest $967 million, with Rio Tinto's share of $513 million, to develop the Mesa B, C and H deposits at Robe Valley, and $579 million, with Rio Tinto's share of $307 mil- lion, in developing Deposits C and D at the existing West Angelas operation. These in- vestments enable Rio Tinto to sustain pro- duction of the Pilbara Blend and its Robe Valley lump and fines products, which are highly valued by long-term customers. Subject to government and environ- mental approvals, construction of both projects is expected to start next year with an estimated 1,200 jobs created during this phase. First ore is currently anticipat- ed from 2021. Once operational, both projects will feature the latest technology with 34 ex- isting haul trucks to be retrofitted with Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) tech- nology, delivering safety and productivity gains to the business. "The development at West Angelas will help sustain production of the Pilbara Blend, the industry's benchmark premium iron ore product, while the additional Robe Valley deposits will enable us to continue to provide a highly valued product to our long- term customers across Asia," said Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Chris Salisbury. Rio Tinto's funding commitment for both projects of $820 million forms part of the company's existing replacement capital guidance of around $2.7 billion from 2018 to 2020. Rio Tinto owns a 53% holding in the Robe River Joint Venture, Mitsui owns 33% and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Met- al Corp., 14%. Copper Mountain Studies Queensland Copper-Gold Project Copper Mountain Mining has reported positive results from a feasibility study of its 100% owned Eva copper-gold project 95 kilometers (km) northeast of Mount Isa, Queensland. The project is designed as a moderately sized, truck-and-shovel, open-pit mining operation. Pit designs encompass five deposits: Little Eva, Tur- key Creek, Bedford, Lady Clayre and Ivy Ann, with Little Eva and Turkey Creek representing approximately 91% of the project's mineral reserves. Copper Mountain is a Canadian com- pany headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is 75% owner of the Cop- per Mountain mine in southern British Columbia. Mitsubishi Materials owns the remaining 25%. Initial capital costs to develop the Eva project are estimated at $350 million. The mine plan calls for production of 117 million metric tons (mt) of ore and 217 million mt of waste over a minimum mine life of 12 years. At an overall sulphide copper recovery of 93% and gold recovery of 78%, the project is forecast to produce approxi- mately 90 million pounds per year (lb/y) of copper and 19,000 ounces per year (oz/y) of gold. Life-of-mine copper pro- duction is estimated at 959 million lb. The processing plant is designed for average throughput of 28,000 mt/d during the first five years of production and 25,500 mt/d for the remaining mine life, based on the hardness variability incor- porated into the geo-metallurgical model of the deposits. The flowsheet consists of primary crushing, primary and secondary grinding through a SAG-ball mill circuit, and flotation to recover copper and gold in a single concentrate. The concentrate will be thickened, filtered, and stockpiled for shipping to the Mount Isa smelter. The Eva project is near existing infra- structure, with power available through a 220-kV powerline. Water will be supplied from a well field near the processing fa- cility, pit dewatering, and water reclaimed from the tailings storage facility. The well field has been drilled, pump tested, and verified by independent hydrologists as sufficient for the project's water needs. Copper Mountain President and CEO Gil Clausen commented, "The Eva fea- sibility study clearly demonstrates the Rio Tinto's share of $307 million will be used to develop Deposits C and D at the West Angelas operation (above). (Continued on p. 32)

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