Australian mining company Oz Minerals plans to power its proposed West Musgrave copper nickel mine in central Australia with up to 80 per cent renewables.
The South Australian company released a pre-feasibility study today showing the Nebo-Babel deposit has the potential to produce 28,000 tonnes of copper and 22,000 tonnes of nickel a year for 26 years.
The project is a joint venture between Adelaide-based OZ Minerals (70 per cent) and Perth-based explorer Cassini Resources (30 per cent). If it goes ahead, the mine would be the first in the broader West Musgrave province, which is in Western Australia not far from its border with South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Oz Minerals is also aiming for the mine to be powered by up to 80 per cent renewable energy and have a reduced carbon footprint with fewer people on site and a smaller accommodation village courtesy of a remote operations centre.
Should the renewables option be implemented, West Musgrave would become one of the largest fully off-grid, renewable powered mines in the world. The company announced the findings to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning, resulting in a 2.5 per cent increase in its share price to $10.32. OZ Minerals CEO Andrew Cole said the study confirmed the project can be a low carbon, low cost, long life mine producing copper and nickel, both in-demand minerals for the renewable and electrification industries.
“Building a viable asset in a remote part of Australia is challenging, but through our collaborative approach we have developed innovative off-grid renewable power and processing solutions, increased stakeholder awareness and involvement in the project and we have built confidence in the mineral resource itself,” he said. “We are pleased the study has identified a means for us to reduce the project’s carbon footprint significantly and overcome the historical challenge of affordable power for West Musgrave.
“We believe, supported by the views of potential renewable energy suppliers, that 70-80 per cent of the power needs for West Musgrave can be supplied by renewable sources, supplemented by battery storage and diesel or trucked gas fired generation.” OZ Minerals describes itself as a modern mining company and has major copper-gold mines, Prominent Hill and Carrapateena, operating in South Australia.
The Lead South Australia | 2020