|Monday, 10 August 2015Jack McGinn
ALTONA Mining has added two years to the potential life of the Little Eva mine at its Cloncurry project in Queensland after undertaking a pit optimisation study on a recently discovered deposit.
The project’s Turkey Creek deposit has a sulphide and oxide resource of 17.3 million tonnes at 0.51% copper for 87,000t copper within the optimum pit.
When only sulphide ore was considered the deposit had a mineable resource of 10.6Mt at 0.47% for 50,000t contained copper.
Currently metallurgical testing has only been carried out on sulphide mineralisation.
The integration of the Turkey Creek deposit to the envisaged 7Mt per annum processing facility at the Little Eva project has the potential to add up to two and a half years to the project’s 11-year mine life.
But Altona managing director Alistair Cowden said the study showed Turkey Creek had the potential to add to the proposed operations at Little Eva through both its sulphide and oxide components.“This study demonstrates that mine life at Little Eva will easily exceed 11 years and that the mining and treatment of the copper oxide mineralisation through the proposed Little Eva plant, even at low recoveries, could add significant value to the project,” he said.
Cowden said the oxide mineralisation at the wider project would likely be of interest to the potential joint venture announced in June with Sichuan Railway Investment Group, through which SRIC will contribute $US214 million ($A288.8 million) cash for a 60% share of Cloncurry.
Altona will contribute $38 million to the incorporated JV for the remaining 40% share.
“Numerous deposits in the wider Cloncurry project have oxide caps and Altona will report on all oxide resources in the coming months,” Cowden said.
“We expect that the proposed $A345 million joint venture envisaged in the recently announced framework agreement with Sichuan Railway Investment Group will consider developing a significant inventory of oxide across the project further enhancing the attractiveness of this major copper development project.”
The Turkey Creek deposit sits 1.5km east of the planned Little Eva open pit and processing plant within the mining lease, and mineralisation remains open to the east and down dip.
It has a full mineral resource of 21Mt at 0.59% copper for 123,300t contained copper.
The company will now work towards defining ore reserves at Turkey Creek, with metallurgical drilling, definitive testwork, geotechnical and mine design studies to be undertaken in the coming months.
Shares in Altona were steady on Friday and opened this morning at 11c.