New Century zinc mine is set for a new lease of life

REBORN: NEw Century zinc mine hopes to reopen before the end of summer in 2018.
REBORN: NEw Century zinc mine hopes to reopen before the end of summer in 2018.

The New Century annual general meeting on November 28 has heard about how the company plans to re-start the Century zinc mine early next year.

The newly completed Century Restart Feasibility Study was presented at the AGM looking at a 2018 operational restart as a 500,000 tonnes a year zinc concentrate producer with free cash flow of A$1.76 billion over an initial six year mine life from the Century Tailings Deposit.

The Century restart is “a globally significant operation” with “robust mine economics” according to the presentation with a proven ore reserve of 2,300,000t zinc and 29,700,000 ounces of silver.

Over the next 6.3 years the design capacity production is aiming to haul out 264,000tpa zinc metal and 3,000,000 ounces a year of silver with 507,000tpa of concentrate.

The company said there was an opportunity for in-situ resource blending.

The mine is fully permitted for restart operations with funding of $50.7m and another $58m conditional debt facility.

And like Dugald River, Century will be restarting as one of the top 10 zinc operations in the world.

In fact it comes in higher than Dugald River, coming in at number 5 when Dugald River is number seven. Two local Glencore mines are also in the top 10 for zinc – George Fisher at number three and McArthur River at six.

The restart study found Century had an 98% conversion of measured resource to proven ore reserve and was the 14th largest economic zinc reserve globally.

They were also keeping costs down with simple low cost hydraulic mining and further mine life extension opportunities would be investigated in 2018.

Century was the third-largest zinc mine in the world prior to its closure by MMG, accounting for roughly 4% of total global supply at peak. 

In October New Century announced a deal to fund the mine restart next year. The company signed a legally binding, conditional term sheet, for a $58m debt facility with global resources fund Sprott Resource Lending.