Cyprium Metals Limited has made advances at the Paterson Copper Project since taking over the full management of the Nifty mine site on 30 March 2021.
The Nifty Copper Mine is located on the western edge of the Great Sandy Desert in the north-eastern Pilbara region of Western Australia, approximately 350 kilometres southeast of Port Hedland. Nifty contains a 2012 JORC Mineral Resources of 658,500 tonnes of contained copper.
The company has made significant progress to develop an open-pit heap leach SX-EW (solvent extraction-electrowinning) operation to produce LME grade A copper cathode metal plate on-site.
Cyprium’s Executive Director, Barry Cahill, commented: “Since taking full site control at Nifty, we have rapidly advanced a number of workstreams supporting our development plans. We have commenced Reverse Circulation (RC) sterilisation drilling at the planned infrastructure locations and will follow with resource extension drilling around the existing open-pit. We have also commenced a detailed review of the mineral resource which has identified a number of high priority drill targets.”
Mr Cahill said trenching activities at the heap leach pads have been completed and samples have been collected, allowing metallurgical test work programmes to commence.
“Engineering reports have been prepared to finalise our development plans for the SX-EW processing plant. Communications upgrades have also been commissioned and the camp refurbishment plans are well advanced,” he said.
“In short, we have hit the ground running in the execution of our simplified development plan, which consists of an open-pit mining operation, feeding a heap leach and SX-EW processing flowsheet.”
Nifty project site update
Cyprium has continued to accelerate the work programs and studies required for the refurbishment and simplified development plan for the Nifty Copper Operation since gaining control of the site. Below are some highlights of recent and planned operational activities:
- An RC drill rig has commenced drilling sterilisation holes for the planned infrastructure locations to the west of the existing heap leach pads (refer to Figure 1). Following this, the rig will commence resource drilling adjacent to the open-pit.
- A detailed review of the mineral resource has been undertaken which has identified further priority drill targets around the existing resource position. Additional drill rigs are being mobilised to site to complete this work.
- Trenching into the heap leach has been completed and the samples have been sent to laboratories in Perth for metallurgical enhancement test work (refer to Figure 2).
- A specialist drill rig is scheduled for mobilisation to site at the end May which will enable samples to be obtained from closer to the heap liner, allowing further metallurgical test work to be completed.
- The specialist rig will also be used for geotechnical drilling of the civils sites for the new infrastructure locations as well as waste characterisation of the existing waste dumps.
- An engineering report and cost estimate comparing the refurbishment versus the purchase of a new solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) processing plant has been completed and is currently under review. A decision will be finalised in the near term on the preferred path.
- The cost estimate and a work programme for the refurbishment of the camp have been received, which are currently being assessed.
- Cyprium has committed to improving the communications capacity and capabilities, including an upgrade from 3G to 4G. The project involves expenditure of approximately $1 million and is planned to be completed in the next 6 to 9 months.
- Cyprium has engaged with the traditional owners and relevant government departments in relation to the simplified development plan at Nifty. The interactions have been constructive and Cyprium is proceeding on a collaborative basis to keep all stakeholders appraised of the progress and timelines.
- The general site clean-up has commenced, particularly re-locating all stores items to a central location and scrap material is being collected for assessment.
- Flora and fauna surveys will be undertaken by the end of May 2021, including the planned infrastructure locations.
- Water management consultants have been engaged to finalise water balance requirements for the site.
- Environmental consultants have been engaged to ensure plans take into consideration the mine closure obligations.