Base metals, Commodities, Exploration/Development, News

South32 flags ‘next-generation mine’ for low-carbon future


South32 is on track to develop its Hermosa base metals project in Arizona, United States, after completing the pre-feasibility study for the Taylor deposit.

Comprising zinc-lead-silver potential, the Taylor sulphide deposit extends to a depth of approximately 1200 metres over a strike length of approximately 2500 metres and width of 1900 metres.

Taylor’s mineral resource estimate is 138 million tonnes, holding averages of 3.82 per cent zinc, 4.25 per cent lead and 81 grams per tonne (g/t) of silver.

South32 has flagged the potential for depth and extensional opportunities at Taylor, with an exploration target of between 10 and 95 million tonnes for the prospect.

This includes the Peake exploration target, which has returned copper and polymetallic mineralisation in early drilling. South32 will commit further drilling at Peake in 2022.

The Taylor deposit will advance to a feasibility study (FS), paving the way for further clarity around its potential. South32 aim to complete the FS and make a final investment decision to construct Taylor in mid-2023.

South32 chief executive officer Graham Kerr said the Taylor deposit represents a key asset to the decarbonising world.

“The Taylor deposit provides an important first development option for our Hermosa project in Arizona, USA. The project has the potential to sustainably produce the metals critical for a low carbon future across multiple decades from different deposits,” he said.

“Completing the pre-feasibility study for the Taylor deposit is an important milestone that demonstrates its potential to be a globally-significant and sustainable producer of base and precious metals in the industry’s first cost quartile.”

The Taylor deposit doesn’t just form an important piece in the low-carbon puzzle, but is also set to showcase South32’s commitment to the digital mining transition.

“We are designing the Taylor deposit to be our first ‘next generation mine’, using automation and technology to minimise our impact on the environment and to target a carbon neutral operation in line with our goal of achieving net zero operational carbon emissions by 2050,” Kerr continued.

“The future development of Taylor provides the platform from which to realise Hermosa’s immense potential. It will further strengthen our portfolio and align with the already substantial growth in production of metals critical to a low carbon future that we have embedded in the portfolio over the past six months.”

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