Construction has commenced at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena on an exploration tunnel, paving the way for almost $1 billion in potential investment in the State’s North and more than 1000 jobs.
Premier Jay Weatherill will today officially open a planned 5.5 kilometre underground tunnel to access one of Australia’s largest undeveloped copper deposits, located 160 kilometres north of Port Augusta.
If the detailed exploration is successful and the project is progressed it is expected to generate more than 1000 construction to production jobs in the next few years; with an anticipated mine life of over 20 years.
The $65 million contract to build the exploration tunnel and associated infrastructure was awarded to PYBAR Mining Services.
The Carrapateena iron-oxide copper-gold deposit was discovered in 2005 with the assistance of a State Government Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) collaborative drilling grant.
In January 2015, the State Government entered into a $10 million agreement for OZ Mineral’s to relocate its head office to South Australia, and enter into a research partnership aimed at unlocking deeply covered mineral deposits.
The State Government has also co-invested $18 million with OZ Minerals to support research into a demonstration trial of a copper concentrate treatment processing plant.
The South Australian Copper Strategy, formulated with input from the government, industry, scientific organisations and services suppliers, seeks to triple South Australia’s output of copper to one million tonnes by 2030.
Quotes attributable to Premier Jay Weatherill
Carrapateena is a world-class deposit that has the potential to trigger almost $1 billion in investment and create more than 1000 jobs.
Copper built this State and discoveries like this mean this commodity, which we have in abundance in South Australia, can continue to contribute enormously to our economy.
Our experts believe there are other large deposits out there waiting to be discovered, which is why we have provided a further $20 million in funding to the PACE program to expand the search for copper.
This initial construction will benefit communities in the north of the state, through new jobs and opportunities for supply chain businesses.
And if the project is progressed, the economic befits to the upper Spencer Gulf region and the state as a whole will be enormous.
I congratulate OZ Minerals on today’s project milestone.