OZ Minerals approves Carrapateena project

MINING: OZ Minerals has approved the development of the Carrapateena copper gold mine, 160 kilometres north of Port Augusta.
MINING: OZ Minerals has approved the development of the Carrapateena copper gold mine, 160 kilometres north of Port Augusta.

THE OZ Minerals board approved the $916 million development of the Carrapateena copper gold mine on Thursday morning, August 24.

The Carrapateena mine – Australia’s largest undeveloped copper mine and South Australia’s second biggest copper mine after Olympic Dam – is located on the eastern margin of the Gawler Craton, 160 kilometres north of Port Augusta.

OZ Minerals Chairman Rebecca McGrath said it was an exciting time for the company.

“The board decision represents the next stage in the company’s development,” she said.

“Carrapateena will be a robust, cash generating asset with expansion potential that sets OZ Minerals up for further growth.”

OZ Minerals is self-funding the project, with its Feasibility Study update confirming a Net Price Value increase of 18 per cent to about $910 million.

The company’s Half Year Financial Results revealed that a strong balance sheet has been maintained, with a cash balance of $625 million and no debt.

OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cole said the project is expected to be funded by cash on hand and future cash flow from the Prominent Hill mine project.

“Our confidence in the economics, constructability and operability of the Carrapateena project as a long life low cost mine has been further reinforced through the feasibility study phase,” he said.

On the back of the announcements of the solar thermal power plant in Port Augusta and BHP Olympic Dam’s Local Buying Program in the Upper Spencer Gulf, Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson said it was a fantastic time for the region.

“After a couple of years of unfortunate times and unfortunate news, we're back in the game,” he said.

“We've gone from having bad news and wondering what our next project is going to be, to having a number of projects which are all going to benefit Port Augusta.”

OZ Minerals representatives estimated at an Information Session in June that about 1000 jobs would be created through Carrapateena’s construction and operation phases.

Mayor Johnson was excited by the prospect of “decades of long-term employment.”

“Their goal is to get as many people from our region working at Carrapateena,” Mayor Johnson said.

“OZ Minerals have given their commitment to engage further with local businesses to make sure that we, the Upper Spencer Gulf, can maximise the opportunities here and also maximise employment opportunities.”

The Concentrated Treatment Plant that will service both the Carrapateena and Prominent Hill mines has been separated from the Carrapateena project in a bid to fast track the development of the mine.

Mayor Johnson believes Port Augusta is still OZ Minerals’ preferred location for the plant.