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New owner for iconic Tasmanian copper mine

Mt Lyell mine

The Mt Lyell copper mine in Tasmania is set to be revived at the hands of Sibanye-Stillwater.

The South African miner had bought the rights to acquire Mt Lyell through its acquisition of New Century Resources and has now exercised that option.

This will see Sibanye-Stillwater pay $US10 million ($15.6 million) to Vedanta for full ownership of Copper Mines of Tasmania – the entity that owns Mt Lyell.

“We identified copper as an essential metal necessary to enable the clean energy transition,” Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive officer Neal Froneman said. “Mount Lyell potentially provides a low-cost exposure to copper, adding primary production of copper to our current lithium and nickel exposure.

“We look forward to working with all the local stakeholders including the Tasmanian Government as we consider the potential advancement of this opportunity.”

In late October 2021, New Century signed a two-year option agreement with Vedanta subsidiary Monte Cello BV to acquire Copper Mines of Tasmania.

A feasibility study for the Mount Lyell copper mine to consider the re-establishment of the operation is currently underway. Sibanye-Stillwater plans to review its options upon the feasibility study’s completion.

The Tasmanian Government welcomed the announcement.

“Our support has included a $9.5 million package to undertake works supporting the recommencement of mining operations as well as a $25 million assistance package to be made available once mining operations recommence. This package remains on the table for a new owner, subject to appropriate due diligence,” Tasmanian Resources Minister Felix Ellis said.

Sibanye-Stillwater is one of the world’s largest producers of platinum, palladium and rhodium, alongside being a major gold producer. Accompanying its New Century assets in Australia, the company has operations in South Africa, the US and Europe.

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