Capricorn Copper Mine has been granted special status by Queensland Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham, which will create hundreds of jobs in north-west Queensland, Australia.

The minister has granted prescribed project status to the $152m project to revamp and reopen the mine, which is 125km north of Mount Isa.

The former Mount Gordon copper mine was stopped due to falling world copper prices and was sold to a joint venture of Brisbane-based Lighthouse Minerals and Melbourne-based EMR Capital in late 2015.

Lynham said: “Jobs and business opportunities in the north-west mineral province are a priority for this government.

“Granting prescribed project status will allow the Coordinator-General to assist this project to efficiently navigate processes and timely approvals through government.

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“This is a new investment in one of the world’s most valuable base metal areas, and clear evidence of the opportunities still to be had in the north-west.”

“This is all about getting almost 90 construction jobs during construction and more than 200 direct operational jobs underway and available by the third quarter of 2017.”

First ore production from the mine is expected in October, with a four-month ramp-up to steady production.

The joint venture has committed to prioritising employment, suppliers and contractors from Mount Isa and other north-west Queensland communities, including Cloncurry.

The mine is projected to produce 30,000t per annum of copper metal in concentrate over an initial mine life of ten years.

A further $14m will be invested in exploration over the next two years to identify more resources in its permit areas and extend the life of the mine beyond the initial ten-year window.

Lynham added: “This is a new investment in one of the world’s most valuable base metal areas, and clear evidence of the opportunities still to be had in the north-west.”