The remarkable revival of Century mine in the Gulf region, was chronicled by new owners New Century Resources in Mount Isa last week.
New Century's head of corporate affairs Shane Goodwin told a MineX breakfast New Century acquired the zinc mine, 300km north west of Mount Isa, from MMG in 2017.
"The mine was originally developed in the late 1990s by CRA, went through a number of ownership changes and operated for around 20 years," Mr Goodwin said.
"MMG were the final owner when the big zinc deposit in the open pit was completely exhausted in 2015 and they finished processing that in 2016."
MMG put the Law Hill mine in care and maintenance including the 304km slurry pipeline, the port facility in Karumba and the transshipping vessel.
MMG sought expressions of interest to rehabilitate the site and New Century came into being to deliver "economic rehabilitation of the mine site" as Mr Goodwin put it, not just to rehabilitate the site but make use of the remaining ore on site in tailings.
"In a very short period of time we listed on the ASX and are now one of the 300 biggest companies listed on the stock exchange," he said.
"We will be, and we probably are now, one of the world's one of the world's ten largest zinc mines recycling a waste product from previous operations."
Mr Goodwin said their current reserves were the 77 million tonnes of pre-crushed 3% zinc ore in the tailings dam which allows for six and a half years of operation from October 2018.
"For a recycling project, it will include around $1.8 billion in cash flow just from those tailings," he said.
The secret to extracting 60% recovery of that zinc was high-powered hydraulic mining.
"We draw water from the evaporation dam, pump it back to the process plant, onto the flotation plant, waste goes into the open pit and the product goes by pipeline to Karumba," Mr Goodwin said.
New Century is also doing a pre-feasibility study to look at open cut mining to extend the mine life out to 12 years.
While you are here subscribe to our weekly email to your inbox at 6am every Friday