OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena mine in South Australia has now achieved nameplate mill throughput rate, with stable operational periods at 500 tonnes per hour and in excess of 90 per cent runtime achieved for 24-hour periods.
Flotation recovery for several shifts has reportedly already exceeded 90 per cent, with concentrate grades in excess of 40 per cent copper.
In commenting on the milestone, OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said while the mine produced first concentrate in December, the minerals processing plant was subject to further work by the construction contractors to complete final commissioning tasks during January and much of February.
“It is a credit to all concerned to see the mill reach nameplate throughput so soon after handover and concentrate being accumulated,” he said.
The underground crusher and conveyor system are also now operating to design expectations.
The company notes that the larger sub-level cave footprint and optimised mine design is expected to improve cave establishment, enable a faster 12-month ramp-up to the 4.25 Million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) run rate by end-2020 and increase throughput rates to target 4.7–5.0 Mtpa from 2023.
The processing plant is set to continue to be tested and optimised through the first half of 2020, and together with the mine production ramp-up, OZ Minerals states that this will drive progressively higher throughput and concentrate production during the second half of the year.