OZ lines up West Musgrave with EPA approval

OZ Minerals has received Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) approval for its West Musgrave copper-nickel mines in Western Australia, as the company approaches a final investment decision.  The project proposed to develop two deposits (Babel and Nebo) near the intersection of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, 1300 kilometres north-east of Perth.

The operation would have a mine life of 26 years as OZ Minerals seeks to produce about 26,000 tonnes per nickel and 32,000 tonnes of copper per year.  In the company’s quarterly report for December 2021, managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Cole said the project was increasing in cost as OZ targeted a final investment decision.

“The project remains on track for a final investment decision in H2 2022, however, uncertainties also remain in relation to ongoing border restrictions, labour availability and the potential impact on project schedule and costs.”

The EPA recommended development of up to 20,852 hectares (ha) with no more than 3830ha of native vegetation cleared.  The project is proposed to be powered by a range of renewable energy sources, as OZ Minerals attempts to operate the site with net-zero emissions by 2040.

From 2033, the project will not produce more than 75,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year, with carbon neutrality projected for 2040.

CREDIT – Australian Mining

OZ Minerals eyes West Musgrave investment decision

OZ Minerals expects to make a final investment decision for the West Musgrave copper-nickel project in Western Australia during the second half of 2022.  According to OZ Minerals managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Cole, the company is considering additional opportunities related to the project outside of the pre-feasibility study update from December.

This includes increasing production above the current rate of 12 million tonnes per annum and the possibility of a third vertical roller mill to enable energy management and emission reduction.  The company is also looking at opportunities to adopt a zero emissions mine and mining fleet, including the construction of a renewable energy power plant.  With the final study expected next year, Cole said COVID-19 restrictions have impacted progress on a land access agreement with Traditional Owners.

Cole said hard border closures causing labour shortages in Western Australia may also impact the final study.

“As we progress the final study phase, impacts on materials and labour availability in Western Australia, have the potential to put pressure on capital costs,” he said.

“We will take these impacts into consideration as we develop the project schedule and budget next year in preparation for a potential final investment decision in the second half of 2022.”

Credit: Australian Mining