While it was nice to get away for a few days, I have to admit I was disappointed I timed my Brisbane break to coincide with the official opening of New Century mine.
I have been closely following progress at the mine ever since it was announced in early 2017 that New Century Resources had taken over the MMG zinc mine which had been mothballed two years earlier.
At that stage it was planned to be mainly used for rehabilitation outcomes but I was intrigued by the secondary plan to use existing infrastructure and remnant mineralisation (zinc bearing tailings) to generate “ongoing economic contribution”.
What that economic contribution would be gradually became clear as 2017 progressed and by New Century annual general meeting on November 28 the company plans to re-start the mine had crystallised.
The AGM was presented with a newly completed Century Restart Feasibility Study which looked 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.
By then the Century restart was going to be “a globally significant operation” with “robust mine economics” 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, meaning Century would once again be among the 10 largest zinc mines on the planet (along with nearby Dugald River, which MMG had moved on to).
The officially re-opening of the mine on Friday had the New Century team welcoming guests from state and federal government, the investment community, local Mayors and representatives of the Waanyi community who saw the tailings reprocessing operations and a close-up of Australia’s largest ever hydraulic mining operation.
Phase 1 operations are now underway, which involve the mining and reprocessing of 8Mtpa of tailings and production of zinc concentrate to be exported – Derek Barry