Kanmantoo Copper Mine is located 25km away from Mount Baker in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia. The mine is owned and operated by Australia-based mining company Hillgrove Resources Limited (Hillgrove Resources).
It was initially developed in 1970, and mining was carried out until 1976 when it was closed due to low prices and increasing copper mining costs.
Hillgrove Resources recommenced the development of Kanmantoo mine upon completion of a definitive feasibility study (DFS) in December 2007. The DFS was managed by Lycopodium Pty Ltd.
The mining and rehabilitation plan (MARP) was sanctioned in April 2010. Production at the mine began in November 2011.
Exact Mining Services was contracted to carry out works including mine site formation, access road construction, open-pit mining, ore crushing and tailings dam construction.
The Laratinga water treatment plant owned by Mount Barker supplies water to the Kanmantoo mine, for refining the mineral ore, through a 15km pipeline built in conjunction with the District Council of Mount Barker.
Geology and reserves at the Kanmantoo copper mine
The deposits are hosted in the Cambrian Kanmantoo Group (CKG) as a discordant copper-gold stockpile. CKG contains metasediments that were metamorphosed and deformed by hosts.
Copper and gold mineralisation is hosted in banded iron formation and garnet quartz rock.
The mine is estimated to contain 10.48 million tons (mt) of inferred reserves graded at 0.8% copper, 0.2g/t of gold and 2.8g/t of silver.
Indicated reserves are estimated to be 21.35mt graded at 0.9% copper, 0.2g/t of gold and 3.3g/t of silver. Probable reserves are estimated to be 11.1mt graded at 0.93% copper, 0.2g/t gold and 3.33g/t silver.
Copper and gold mineralisation at the South Australian deposit
The copper and gold mineralisation at the Kanmantoo mine is hosted in the schist of quartz, biotite, alusite, garnet and chlorite. The mineral bearing ore remains open in all directions. Stretching up to 2.5km long, the mineralisation exists at a depth of 800m.
Gold will be extracted either separately from gold zones or with combined copper.
Production and costs associated with Hillgrove Resources’ mine project
The Kanmantoo mine produces 2.4mt of run of mine ore per annum, with an operational lifespan of 6.5 years. The production can be increased to 2.7mtpa by improving operational efficiencies. Following the proving of additional reserves, the throughput could be raised to 3.4mtpa by increasing the capital expenditure.
Open-pit mining and processing concentrates at Australia’s Kanmantoo copper mine
The copper and gold deposits are mined using well established open-pit excavation techniques including drilling, exploring, blasting, loading and hauling. Two operational pits were dug at the mine site to a depth of 270m for extracting the reserves.
The larger pit spans up to 1.2km long and 600m wide. Hydraulic excavators and highway trucks with conventional rock boxes are used to transport the ore to the processing plant.
In July 2009, Hillgrove acquired the obsolete Pillar processing plant and equipment from a West Australian mine located in the Kimberly region. The plant was dismantled and relocated to the Kanmantoo mine site in July 2010.
Abesque Engineering and Construction was awarded a $40m contract by Hillgrove Resources in September 2010 to design, rebuild and commission the processing plant at the mine site. The plant’s construction was completed in November 2011.
Copper concentrates are produced at the plant using a primary jaw crusher, SAG milling circuit, a grinder, ball milling and conventional flotation.
The copper and gold concentrates are loaded into haul trucks and transferred to the Port of Adelaide via the South Eastern Freeway. A full off take agreement for all concentrate is in place with JP Morgan Metal and Concentrates.