New Century Resources remains on track to restart the Mt Lyell copper mine in Tasmania after highlighting several key findings from an ongoing scoping study.
It was originally forecast that Mt Lyell’s processing plant might need to be demolished, however “decades of consistent production” has suggested a robust flowsheet for the facility.
As such, New Century will aim to complete a partial new build on the plant with only minor optimisations.
The Mt Lyell restart study has initially focused on the Prince Lyell and Western Tharsis deposits, whereby the mine’s previous owner, Copper Mines of Tasmania, employed a sub-level caving (SLC) mining method for nearly two decades.
Due to their vertical nature and expansive mineralisation footprint, Prince Lyell and Western Tharsis offer good geometry for employing SLC, which will allow maximum benefit to be gained from the extensive development/sunk capital in place.
Almost 28 kilometres of underground workings are already established at the deposits, which will minimise the upfront restart capital and provide early access to ore for processing.
Due to the established underground infrastructure, New Century will be able to quickly commence a cost-effective diamond drill program at Prince Lyell and Western Tharsis. The company aims to commence exploration in April 2022 at the deposits.
The aim of the drill program would be to add further measured and/or indicated mineral resources, and demonstrate a significant life of mine for resumed operations.
New Century aims to release an ore reserve update and outline the outcomes of current study work in the June quarter.
In October 2021, New Century inked a two-year option agreement with Monte Cello BV, a subsidiary of Vedanta, regarding the acquisition of Copper Mines of Tasmania, which owns Mt Lyell.
The deal formed part of a larger environmental, social and governance (ESG) focussed growth transaction, which also involved South Africa-based Sibanye-Stillwater acquiring 19.99 per cent of New Century.
As part of the two-year option period, New Century has a minimum expenditure requirement of $US10 million ($13.3 million) on the development and exploration of Mt Lyell.
New Century aims to complete a Mt Lyell restart feasibility study by the second half of 2023.