By Melissa Keogh
A jobs boost is set to be delivered to regional South Australia following OZ Minerals’ decision to green-light Australia’s largest undeveloped copper project.
The Adelaide-based mining company announced board approval of a $916m investment in the Carrapateena mine, which will create 1000 jobs during construction.
The copper-gold project will take place about 160km north of Port Augusta and is set to become the state’s second biggest copper mine after Olympic Dam.
Carrapateena is expected to begin producing copper by late 2019 and OZ Minerals is predicting an output of more than 65,000 tonnes a year.
It’s also predicting an annual production of 67,000 ounces of gold.
Carrapateena’s copper concentrate is expected to be among the highest grade on world markets, while production costs are expected to be among the lowest.
SA Premier Jay Weatherill says the board approval is another show of confidence in the State’s economy, following recent announcements including the Tesla giant battery and Port Augusta’s solar thermal power plant.
“This copper project showcases the importance of the resources sector to the South Australian economy with investment in Carrapateena creating local jobs, infrastructure and opportunities for Aboriginal participation,” he says.
“OZ Minerals should also be applauded for the way in which it has partnered with the Kokatha people to ensure that the traditional landowners also benefit from this major investment.”
Construction began in November 2016 on the ‘Tjati Decline’ a 7500m long, 600m deep tunnel that provides access to the copper-gold deposit.
Tjati is an Aboriginal name for a gecko that lives in the region.
The SA Government funded 50% of the original drilling program.
Approval has already been granted under the Mining Act for an accommodation village and airstrip.
The mineral lease application is still under assessment by the State and Federal governments.
Main photo: Oz Minerals CEO Andrew Cole, left, Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Chris Larkin and SA Premier Jay Weatherill at the Carrapateena site last year. Image supplied by OZ Minerals.
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