BIG PICTURE: Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) aerial view of the Mount Morgan mine site.
BIG PICTURE: Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) aerial view of the Mount Morgan mine site. DNRM

Central Qld gold mine set for start in 2017

MOUNT Morgan residents could be shouting 'Eureka' in the new year as Carbine Resources advance their move on the town's dormant mine.

Carbine Resources director Tony James and community liaison Russell Dann spent the week in the Mount Morgan area and met with about 100 community members on Wednesday night to discuss the Mount Morgan Gold - Copper Project and present the findings of the feasibility plan.

Carbine Resources, through their acquisition partner Raging Bull Mining Pty Ltd, entered formal agreements to progressively acquire the Mount Morgan Mine from current owners, Norton Gold Fields Limited in 2014.

 

 

Mr James said the Western Australia based company hoped to have shovels in the ground in the first half of 2017 dependant on financier backing.

"The best case scenario for us is probably three to four months (to start construction), the worst case scenario is obviously a bit longer than that," Mr James said.

"So what we are doing now is waiting for feedback from potential financiers, to see what they think about the project and what it looks like, and that will give us a really good guide as to how long it might take for us to get to a point where we can actually go forward."

Indication of ore reserves at the Mount Morgan mine site, as presented to the community by Carbine Resources on Wednesday, December 14.
Indication of ore reserves at the Mount Morgan mine site, as presented to the community by Carbine Resources on Wednesday, December 14. Carbine Resources

Three outstanding approvals concerning environment, heritage and regional planning must also get the tick before construction, which is expected to take about 12 months and employ 110 people from the local and regional population.

Mining would commence three months prior to plant commissioning - an estimated 16 months total.

An ongoing workforce of 70 direct employees would also be employed, which excludes contractors and external service providers.

There is no provision for a fly-in-fly-out workforce.

Besides putting money in the pockets of locals, the capital cost for construction is an estimated $85 million with forecasts to contributed $45 million each year for 20 years into the local economy via ongoing operating expenditure.

Mr James explained Carbine Resources have proposed a three-stream processing facility which would produce copper sulphate, unroasted iron pyrite and gold.

Three-stream processing facility which will produce copper sulphate, unroasted iron pyrite and gold.
Three-stream processing facility which will produce copper sulphate, unroasted iron pyrite and gold. Amber Hooker

He said it was this process which would allow the company to successfully process the minerals without interfering with each other - something that had hindered other contenders - and turn the environmentally damaging pyrite into Mount Morgan's gateway to the Chinese market.

He explained the world's largest pyrite exporting mine for sulphuric acid was based in Finland and due to close in 2018-19, which would "open up the market" for the 7.9Mt of pyrite forecast to be extracted from Mount Morgan expected to produce an "identical" product.

Carbine Resources indicated an average 200kt of pyrite would be hauled to Gladstone by road for international export each year, though specifications for road improvements were not available.

The Mining Lease and Environmental Authority are in place for the project, but three approvals remain; environmental Authority Amendment application due to variations in the plan including the relocation of the plan; Development by the State Application to be approved by the Minister of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection; and a Resource Development Application in Priority Living Area.

Mr James said to reduce sound and visual interference, the processing plant originally planned near the number two mill would move to Sandstone Gully (see map), with operation hours restricted to 12 hours, 5.5 days per week; this is subject to approval.

Mining operations at the historical site wrapped up after 100 years of mining between 1882 to 1992, but the Mount Morgan Total Mineral Resources was updated to 0.85M gold ounces, 7.9Mt pyrite, and 36kt copper (ASX: August 30).



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