Sunday 22nd Sep, 2019

Queensland supercharges zinc mine restart

The Queensland Government has appointed three additional mine inspectors and another chief inspector as the resources industry responds to recent mine-related tragedies.

The Queensland Government will supercharge the ramp up of a $150 million zinc mine after negotiating a royalty deferral agreement with miner New Century Resources.

More than 260 construction and 240 operational roles will be supported by the Century Zinc Mine.

New Century’s two stage project will recommission the existing infrastructure and ramp up operations at the Century Zinc Mine to reprocess the zinc and silver resources. It will also seek to restart conventional mining of in-situ resources to produce zinc and lead concentrates to increase the life of the project.

Additionally, the restart of the mine will continue the operation of a 304 kilometres slurry pipeline between the mine site and Karumba.

The continued dredging of the Port of Karumba fill also makes it available for other commercial uses.

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It is the first Royalty Deferral and Repayment agreement to be negotiated under the Resources Regional Development Framework (RRDF), setting the precedent for future arrangements.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the royalty agreement was an important step in her government’s commitment to open up the North West Minerals Province.

“We know the North West Minerals Province is rich in minerals like copper, cobalt, zinc and gold, as well as potential deposits of rare earth minerals that will play an increasing role in renewable electricity generation and battery technology,” Palaszczuk said.

“We want to see new projects in the North West Minerals Province, but also new technologies that can extract more value from former projects like this.”

Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Jackie Trad, said New Century was a great example of what the RRDF can achieve.

“When we announced this framework in 2017, we were clear that it could apply to all new resource projects in the North-West Minerals Province and Galilee and Surat Basins,” Trad said.

“We said when royalties were deferred, they would have to be repaid in full, with interest and with security of payment in place. We said investors would have to meet a financial assurance model to ensure compliance with environmental conditions to cover rehabilitation costs.

“New Century has satisfied all these conditions through an exhaustive process and has also committed to employ a significant proportion of local indigenous workers through the additional jobs being created by the project.”

Mines Minister, Anthony Lynham, said New Century’s investment in North West Queensland underlines the region’s potential for Queensland’s future.

“This year’s budget added an additional $110 million on top of $39 million already invested in supporting mining in the North West Minerals Province,” Lynham said.

“While New Century is using its own dedicated slurry pipeline to and port facility at Karumba, we’re reducing freight costs for users on the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line and contributing towards the construction and operation of containerised freight loading and unloading facilities at the Port of Townsville.”

New Century Managing Director, Patrick Walta, said the its value proposition paid particular attention to delivering economic mine rehabilitation benefits and also ensuring local stakeholders were partners in the process.

“The Century Mine has a long history of engagement with stakeholders in the Gulf of Carpentaria and, since taking over the project in 2017, we have focussed on enhancing the benefits of our project for the broader community, including Traditional Owners, local industry, the Burke and Carpentaria Shires, and to Queensland more broadly,” Walta said.

“The New Century team’s achievements to date have set the benchmark in demonstration of the potential for economic mine rehabilitation in Australia. We appreciate the Queensland Government’s strong support in ensuring this innovative model can successfully achieve sound mine closure and rehabilitation practices into the future.”