MMG Limited today confirmed that after 16 years, mining at Century, Australia’s largest open-pit zinc mine, had completed in August 2015.
Located in north-west Queensland, the mine and processing operation are at Lawn Hill, while the associated concentrate dewatering and ship-loading facilities are at the Karumba Port on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
MMG Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Bastos said the completion of mining at this significant Australian mine operation is a milestone for MMG.
"Century has consistently made a significant contribution to MMG, both financially and through the commitment to our growth objective by the dedicated team of thousands of workers over the life of the mine," he said.
"Century has also made a strong contribution to the Queensland economy and to the employment opportunities for Gulf Communities. Through one of the first Native Title agreements of its kind, over 900 Aboriginal employees from local Indigenous groups or communities have been part of the operation since its development.
"We thank our employees, the community, governments and all stakeholders involved in the operation for their ongoing support.
"The completion of mining at Century is a considerable factor in the shrinking global supply of zinc. We remain positive about the long-term fundamentals for zinc, which supports our decision to invest in Dugald River, one of the world’s highest grade undeveloped zinc deposits.
"While mining has completed, processing of stockpiled ore continues, and we are also focused on fulfilling community commitments and environmental obligations beyond mining at Century," he said.
MMG expects to complete processing of the approximately 700,000 tonnes of Century ore built up during the final months of mining operations in 2015.
Additionally, stockpiled ore from the Dugald River project also located in north-east Queensland will be processed at Century into early 2016. The Dugald River ore was produced during a trial stoping program at the site in 2014.
Century is expected to produce 320,000–370,000 tonnes of zinc in zinc concentrate during 2015, in line with annual production guidance. Stable first half production at Century has positioned it to deliver during its final year of concentrate production.
"Our ability to maximise value throughout the mining life cycle is demonstrated by first-half production at Century of 221,049 tonnes of zinc – just 1% lower than the same period in 2014, despite transition to lower grades in the final stage of mining," Mr Bastos said.
Closure planning and progressive rehabilitation activities continue at Century.