The West Musgrave copper-nickel mine is located in Musgrave Province of Western Australia. Credit: OZ Minerals.
The West Musgrave project includes Nebo-Babel nickel-copper and Succoth copper deposits. Credit: OZ Minerals.
Bulk flotation circuit will be used to produce separate copper and nickel concentrates. Credit: Cassini Resources Limited.
The final product from the project will be transported via logistics route to Leonora and Esperance. Credit: Cassini Resources Limited.
The project will feature onsite communications systems. Credit: Cassini Resources Limited.
The first production from the mine is expected in 2026. Credit: Metso Outotec.

The West Musgrave project is an open-pit copper and nickel sulphide mine located in the Musgrave province of Western Australia. It comprises the Nebo-Babel nickel-copper sulphide and Succoth copper deposits.

The project was initially developed by a joint venture between OZ Minerals (70%) and Cassini Resources (30%). OZ Minerals acquired Cassini Resources in 2020, gaining complete ownership of the project. In May 2023, BHP acquired OZ Minerals and became the owner of the project.

A pre-feasibility study of the West Musgrave Project was completed in February 2020. The project can be developed as a low-carbon, long-life and low-cost mine based on the study.

The final investment decision regarding the West Musgrave project was taken in September 2022. The project’s construction started in November 2022 and it is expected to begin operations in the second quarter of 2026.

The mine is expected to produce approximately 35,000t of nickel and 41,000t of copper annually over the first five years of operation. The average annual production for the rest of the mine life will be approximately 27,000t of nickel and 33,000t of copper.

West Musgrave project location

The West Musgrave copper-nickel mine is located 1,300km northeast of Perth in Western Australia and 1,400km northwest of Adelaide.

It is situated 500km west of Uluru and 30km south of the Jameson (Mantamaru) community.

Geology and mineralisation

The West Musgrave project is located in the Mann-Musgrave Block subregion within the Musgrave geological province. The area is characterised by roterozoic ranges, including volcanic and quartzite formations occurring along with red Quaternary sandplains and sporadic Permian exposures.

The mine comprises the Nebo-Babel nickel-copper sulphide deposits that were discovered in 2000 and are separated by a distance of 1.5km. The deposits are situated within a horizontally layered, concentrically zoned, tube-shaped gabbronorite intrusion.

The deposits host two types of mineralisation, including massive and breccia sulphides that comprise pyrrhotite, pentlandite, chalcopyrite and trace pyrite.

West Musgrave project reserves

The total reserves at West Musgrave are estimated to be 270Mt, grading 0.31% nickel and 0.34% copper.

The contained metal is estimated to be 720,000t of nickel and 790,000t of copper.

The project has an expected mine life of approximately 26 years and the maiden reserves will support the first 22 years of the mine operation.

Mining at the West Musgrave project

The Babel and Nebo deposits, which are located near the surface, are planned to be developed in stages employing open-pit mining methods.

The mining method is customised to meet orebody characteristics and reduce ore loss and dilution. It will involve conventional drilling, blasting loading and hauling. The haulage fleet of the project will include up to 25 220t haul trucks, with the option to operate the trucks in fully autonomous mode at a later stage.

The mining is expected to be handled by a contractor for the first five years, following which the project will transition to an owner-operated model.

Ore processing

The project site will have a mineral processing plant with a nameplate capacity of 10-12Mtpa. The ore from the deposits will be processed by a grinding circuit comprising two stages of crushing followed by two parallel vertical roller mills.

The plant will use a bulk flotation circuit designed to produce separate copper and nickel concentrates. The circuit will feature bulk rougher flotation, regrinding and a two-stage bulk cleaning process, followed by copper and nickel separation.

The sulphide ore will be divided into two types, namely pyrite-violarite (PV) and non-PV.

The nickel concentrate obtained from the processing plant will have a low MgO content and a low level of impurities, while the copper concentrate will be accompanied by minor by-products of gold and silver. The concentrate will undergo thickening, filtration and storage processes.

The processing plant will be equipped with a Metso Outotec MP1250 cone crusher and TankCell® e630 flotation units.

Tailings will be sent to a hybrid, two-stage tailings storage facility (TSF). The facility will have an under-drainage system that can capture seepage for returning to the process.

Ecora Resources holds a 2% net smelter return royalty on the West Musgrave project.


The mine site can be accessed via public roads leading to the nearby Jameson community. A new 30km-long road will be laid from Jameson to the project site to improve access. Civil works at the site will include clearing, levelling and bulk earthworks and the creation of roads connecting different areas within the mine site.

The project is proposed to be powered by a 50MW base power supply using a hybrid diesel-solar-wind battery solution.

The site will include buildings to provide accommodation and support other operations such as administration, warehousing, workshops and logistics. Infrastructure will also be created to handle onsite services, including reticulation of water and power, sewage and wastewater services, lighting and waste disposal.

Water requirements at the site can be met by a local aquifer system and a bore field.

Contractors involved in the West Musgrave project

Mipac, an operational technology, control systems and engineering services provider, was awarded the automation contract for the project in May 2023. It will supply an integrated process control system (PCS) for the project, which will monitor, control and manage plant operations.

Kerman Contracting, a design and construction company, was awarded a contract to build the living hub and permanent accommodation facilities at the mine in March 2023.

In December 2022, Metso Outotec was awarded a contract to supply mineral processing technologies for the project.

Melchor Contracting, a civil construction company, was contracted to undertake concrete works at the project, including reinforcement, formwork and concrete placement.

AMC Consultants assisted OZ Minerals in completing mine planning activities such as mine design, pit optimisation, scheduling and cost modelling for the Babel and Nebo deposits.

GR Engineering Services was contracted to conduct an engineering study for the project.

AECOM, an infrastructure consulting company, worked on the feasibility study of the project to develop a hybrid renewable energy solution.