Mining company MMG Limited has sold the former North West Queensland zinc mine to a company called Century Mine Rehabilitation Project Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Century Bull Pty Ltd.
Century Bull is a privately owned Australian specialist in ‘economic rehabilitation’ associated with the Raging Bull Group of companies.
The Raging Bull Group specialises in metallurgical processing and environmental management to target the reprocessing of tailings, achieving an economic return whilst remediating historic mine sites and already does a rehabilitation project at Mount Morgan.
Century Bull has entered into an earn-in agreement with Attila Resources Limited for the ongoing funding of the proposed economic rehabilitation activities at the Century zinc mine, which closed down in 2015.
Century Bull will immediately begin work towards the economic extraction of metal from evaporation dam water while completing a bankable feasibility study into zinc tailings re-processing. This is expected to generate renewed employment, training and business opportunities for Century and the Lower Gulf.
Century Bull’s focus is to deliver rehabilitation outcomes while using existing infrastructure and remnant mineralisation (zinc bearing tailings) to generate ongoing economic contribution.
It will assume overall accountability for rehabilitation and care for country responsibilities, in consultation with Native Title groups.
MMG will provide $193.7m in bank guarantees for the benefit of Century Bull which enables Century to meet its financial assurance obligations with the Queensland Government. MMG will make an additional contribution of $34.5m over three years.
This is to assist with the transition of ownership and support existing obligations around site upkeep and environmental maintenance and monitoring.
MMG will establish a special purpose trust of $12.1m, managed independently by Equity Trustees to support Century Bull in meeting Century’s existing obligations contained in the Gulf Communities Agreement and agreed community projects for the benefit of Lower Gulf communities.
MMG CEO Jerry Jiao said it was great outcome for the Lower Gulf and for the state of Queensland.
“It provides new life for the substantial Century assets, while supporting dedicated rehabilitation and ongoing employment, training and business opportunities,” Mr Jiao said.
“Under this new plan, Century Bull will continue to generate employment and training opportunities and other ongoing benefits to the communities and businesses of the Lower Gulf.
“Century Bull has developed a sound plan for progressive rehabilitation of the Century mine site and has built a strong reputation and capability in ‘economic rehabilitation’ in Australia.”
Century Bull Managing Director Patrick Walta said they were committed to undertaking economic rehabilitation of the Century zinc mine and acknowledge the importance of regional business development and employment.
“Century Bull also recognises the unique history of Century, including the importance of Australia’s first major multi-party native title agreement between the Century Mine, Queensland Government and four Native title Groups and the many stakeholders still associated,” Mr Walta said.
During its operating life, Century has had a positive impact on the economy and development of the communities of the Lower Gulf. As a major driver of development, Century has provided employment for over 1,000 people from the remote Gulf communities, providing training and opportunities to local businesses along with improved infrastructure and services in the region.
“MMG would like to thank all its partners to Century over the years, in particular the GCA signatories the Waanyi, Mingginda and Gkuthaarn and Kukatj Native Title Groups, and Queensland Government for their support of the mine since it commenced operations in 1997,” Mr Jiao said.
The Century mine has been on care and maintenance since mining and processing ceased in early 2016. Following external interest, MMG initiated an expression of interest process to explore possible future economic and businesses opportunities based around the Century mine mineral assets, processing facilities and supporting infrastructure.