OZ Minerals expects to make a final investment decision for the West Musgrave copper-nickel project in Western Australia during the second half of 2022.
According to OZ Minerals managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Cole, the company is considering additional opportunities related to the project outside of the pre-feasibility study update from December.
This includes increasing production above the current rate of 12 million tonnes per annum and the possibility of a third vertical roller mill to enable energy management and emission reduction.
“We position ourselves as a modern mining company and opportunities to produce a green product with maximum transparency in a sustainable way need to be further explored,” Cole said.
The company is also looking at opportunities to adopt a zero emissions mine and mining fleet, including the construction of a renewable energy power plant.
With the final study expected next year, Cole said COVID-19 restrictions have impacted progress on a land access agreement with Traditional Owners.
“The Traditional Owners have expressed support for the project and our priority is to ensure they are fully informed, remain safe, and have a clear understanding of the impacts and opportunities the proposed mine will create; a process that we will not rush,” Cole said.
“A site-wide geotechnical program is concluding with lab testing underway.“An additional 47.5 kilometres of infill drilling has been completed, primarily targeting the payback period.
“Pleasingly, results have been in line with expectations, increasing our confidence in Nebo Babel orebody knowledge.”
Cole said hard border closures causing labour shortages in Western Australia may also impact the final study.
“As we progress the final study phase, impacts on materials and labour availability in Western Australia, have the potential to put pressure on capital costs,” he said.
“We will take these impacts into consideration as we develop the project schedule and budget next year in preparation for a potential final investment decision in the second half of 2022.”