Conventional mining methods are used to extract ore from the Century open pit.
The Century ore body is flat-lying, covering an area of 1.4 kilometres by 2.5 kilometres with a final depth of 336 metres. The mine was developed as an open cut operation as the ore was relatively close to the surface and overburden could be easily removed.
Commercial production began at Century in 1999 with the mine reaching full production in 2002.
The Century mining fleet consists of Liebherr shovels and 170 tonne and 240 tonne haul trucks as well as dozers, graders and other ancillary equipment.
Ore and waste material are removed separately and stockpiled in different parts of the mine.
Ore is transported to the run of mine (ROM) pad, where it is stockpiled and gradually fed into the concentrator for processing.
To enable ore to be moved, drilling and blasting of rock occurs several times each week. This process involves holes being drilled into the next bench before explosives are inserted and blasted. This loosens the material enough to allow shovels to load the material into haul trucks. Ore is stockpiled on the ROM pad.
Century prepares extensively for the long wet seasons experienced in north-west Queensland. As part of its mine operations, ROM pad stocks are built up prior to the wet season to ensure processing operations can continue in the event of heavy rains.
Mining operations take place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with heavy vehicle operators and maintenance personnel working an 8-days-on, 6-days-off, 7-days-on, 7-days-off roster.
Operations at haul truck in the Century pit.
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