New Century Resources exercises option on historic Mt Lyell copper mine


Tailings and mine remediation specialist New Century Resources (ASX: NCZ) has, under a new option agreement, two years to study the acquisition of the Mt Lyell copper mine in Tasmania.

Located near Queenstown on the west coast of the island state, Mount Lyell was first mined in 1893 by the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, but closed in 2014 after three workers died in two mining accidents distinct.

During its lifetime, Mt Lyell ranked as one of the most important copper mines in Australian history.

New Century claims the mine has a mineral resource of 135 million tonnes containing 1 Mt of copper and 940,000 ounces of gold.

New Century’s flagship operation is the Century project in Queensland, the largest tailings reprocessing operation in Australia.

Vision: to be the world leader in remediation and tailings

Century produces 130,000 tonnes per year of zinc concentrate, the company having restarted operations there in 2018, focusing on the reprocessing of tailings and the rehabilitation of existing disturbed areas.

Mount Lyell is currently owned by Mumbai-based Vedanta, a resource giant that produces iron ore, gold, aluminum, zinc-lead, oil and gas.

Under the option agreement, New Century is required to spend US $ 10 million ($ 14 million) over the two-year period as well as reimburse upkeep and maintenance costs.

In October, when the company announced it was trading the option, chief executive Patrick Walta said the New Century team was clearly focused on its vision of becoming a global leader in economic rehabilitation and management. residues.

“Green” copper plan

The company plans to use Mt Lyell as a “major” sustainable copper producer, with strong ESG credentials and “100% green copper” production.

These green credentials include that 50% of the electricity needed will be supplied by the Lake Margaret hydropower plant and the fact that copper is a key metal for green electrification of the world.

During the two-year option period, New Century will investigate the refurbishment or replacement of the existing structure at Mt Lyell for tailings treatment.

Since taking over the mine in 1999, Vedanta has produced just under 400,000 tonnes of copper, 1.8 million ounces of silver and 220,000 ounces of gold.

The site includes a tailings repository containing approximately 42 Mt of historic tailings.

Recent development work has shown the potential for recovering leftover copper, gold and cobalt.


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