Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, the Honourable Norman Moore, today broke the first ground at MMG’s new Copper Open Pit at its Golden Grove operations, in the State’s Mid West.
Watched by State and local parliamentarians, and Council and Shire members, the Minister took part in a ground-breaking ceremony by drilling the first hole in the A$22 million project.
MMG CEO, Mr Andrew Michelmore said that Golden Grove Copper Open Pit project was an excellent example of sustainable mining through near mine exploration, environmental investigation, community consultation and life-of-mine extension.
“Organic growth and near mine development will play a key role in MMG’s drive to build a major diversified mining company. The Copper Open Pit at Golden Grove is a successful example of this strategy at work,” he said.
“The project enables us to further extend to our stakeholders the benefits of our investment at Golden Grove by offering more employment opportunities to local people, increasing shareholder value and providing an in-demand product to our customers around the world.”
The Golden Grove operation, which comprises the Scuddles and Gossan Hill underground mines, has been considering expanding into open pit mining for some time, but the project was put on hold in 2009 during the global financial crisis. However, MMG’s committed focus on organic growth and internal development amongst its existing operations, and improved commodity prices saw the decision to proceed with the open pit passed in July 2010.
MMG engaged in extensive stakeholder consultation campaign and completed detailed environmental and technical investigations in relation to the open pit studies. Incorporating results from these, MMG believes there is project certainty as environmental and social issues have been well studied and understood and impacts can be mitigated using standard practice management measures.
Executive General Manager – Exploration, Mr Steve Ryan said exploration is a core growth driver for the company, which includes mine district exploration, new discovery programs and project generation. As a part of that, MMG takes its commitment to the environment and its stakeholders around all of the company’s mine sites very seriously.
“A very important element of this project was managing environmental responsibilities and consultation between MMG, the local community and other key stakeholders. Including both of these elements in our exploration work was fundamental to the ongoing success of this project,” Mr Ryan said.
The Copper Open Pit will be located directly over the existing underground workings at Golden Grove's Gossan Hill mine, and it will provide an additional 3.3 million tonnes of copper ore reserves to the overall Golden Grove production profile.
The open pit will produce approximately 235,000 tonnes of copper concentrate containing 59,600 tonnes of copper metal in concentrate at 25% copper from 2012 to 2014. The current processing plant capacity of around 1.8 million tonnes per annum of ore will be maintained throughout the project.
The operations will be carried out by mining contractor Alliance, under the supervision of MMG Golden Grove management. MMG expects approximately 60 people will be employed a part of the new project, with a large majority of new positions to be filled by members of the greater Geraldton and Mid West region, building on the current workforce which sees approximately 40% of employees drawn from the area.
MMG Golden Grove General Manager, Mr Pierre Malan said that Copper Open Pit project was an exciting move forward for Golden Grove and demonstrates the ongoing potential of the Golden Grove ore system.
“The current underground deposit at Golden Grove takes the operation’s mine life through to approximately 2017, but to maximise the full potential of the site it is important we make every effort to identify any prospective future ore supply nearby," Mr Malan said.
“Full scale production of the open pit project will commence in January 2012, and is expected to extend Golden Grove’s operation a further two years, until 2019.”
“The open pit will supplement production from our current underground mining operations and support our mine life extension, which reinforces our commitment of continuing to be a major local miner and provider of employment in the Mid West region for the foreseeable future.”
MMG Golden Grove Communications Advisor
Phone: +61 8 9956 4595
Mobile: +61 407 434 329
MMG Group Manager, Communications
Phone: +61 3 9288 0850
Mobile: +61 417 144 524