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Evolution bags historic copper-gold mine

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Evolution Mining has secured an 80 per cent stake in the Northparkes copper-gold mine in New South Wales.

Northparkes in made up of an underground block cave mine, a sub-level cave and an ore processing plant which produces copper concentrate for export. In 2021, Northparkes produced 6.77 million tonnes ore ore, with a copper recovery of 82.8 per cent and a gold recovery of 69.1 per cent.

Evolution expects Northparkes to produce roughly 19,000 ounces of gold and 12,500 tonnes of copper in the first half of 2024.

The transaction aims to diversify Evolution’s portfolio and increase its exposure to copper, which the company expects will provide up to 30 per cent of its revenue in the 2023–24 financial year.

The miner purchased the 80 per cent stake in the mine from China Molybdenum Company for a cool $US399 million ($603 million), which it funded with a recent $525 million institutional placement and a $200 million debt facility.

Japanese company Sumitomo holds the remaining 20 per cent interest.

The mine made history in 1997 when it became the first in Australia to use the block caving method of mining, which entails mining in such a way to cause the orebody to collapse under its own weight, rather than relying on explosives.

“This is another important step in our strategy of building a portfolio of long-life, high -margin assets and delivers us two long life assets in central west NSW,” Evolution Mining managing director and chief executive officer Lawrie Conway said.

“We warmly welcome our new colleagues at Northparkes that will be joining Evolution today, and now turn our attention to delivering value for all stakeholders over the long term from the high-quality Northparkes operation.”

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