The long troubled Rocklands mine is set to reopen in the coming month under new owners.
It has been closed since August 2018 and former owners CuDeco went into receivership in July 2019.
Copper Resources Australia Pty Ltd became the newly appointed operator of the Rocklands Project in December 2020, operating as part of the Mt Cuthbert Group which owns the nearby Mt Cuthbert copper mine at Kajabbi.
General manager of the Mt Cuthbert Group Shane Ryan told an industry breakfast in Cloncurry on Monday they were a "pure copper play" with a long association with the region after Matrix Metals put Mt Cuthbert in care and maintenance in 2008 and the then Malaco Mining resumed copper mining in 2014.
In 2019 they began sulphide mining at Crusader and a year later created a new group called Copper Resources Australia to pick up the dormant Rocklands site which is now "on track" to resume operations.
Mr Ryan said Rocklands south pit had an estimated mine life of six years while there was 2.5 years of oxide ore at Mt Cuthbert.
He said they had completed a redesign of the crushing plant and hoped to recommence mining in October spending $52m in 2021 and $96m next year.
Rocklands has filled 115 positions so far this year, all from Queensland, and 97pc local with an anticipated head count of 175 by year end while there are 18 at Mt Cuthbert expecting to rise to 75 by year end.
Apart from filling the roles Mr Ryan said Rocklands had other challenges such as finding suitable routes for mine lease access and concentrate haulage and getting the second tailings facility built and running, while long lead times for new equipment were a problem across the industry since COVID.
Mr Ryan said the current Rocklands plan was based on Rockland South Pit and they were conducting further development work on the Las Minerales Pit as well as nearby drilling to increase the known resource.
At Mt Cuthbert they were looking at pit expansions and they had one million tonnes of ore capacity enabling them to become oxide ore processing agents from nearby operations.
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