New life has been breathed into the Surveyor mine, with production tipped to reach 10,000 tonnes “this week or the next”, according to Consolidated Tin Mines managing director Ralph De Lacy.
The polymetal mine, originally operated by the now-defunct Kagara Ltd for about a decade, has a series of lenses of copper and zinc throughout two pits, and an expected lifespan of three years, with the possibility of extension.
"We've gone back into the underground mining areas they left behind, and there's still quite a lot of ore left there, but there's also a lot of new development potential," De lacy said.
"The area has huge exploration potential and within the mine corridor there is still a lot of ore to be mined," he said.
"A good example is a shoot mined this week with about 1000 tonnes averaging around 13 per cent copper with pockets of up to 60 per cent copper."
After a $3 million refurbishment of the processing plant at Mt Garnet, located 180km north of the mine, the plant is ready to begin full-scale production on March 3.
Around 101 people are employed across the minesite, processing plant and cairns-based administration office, 87 of whom are employed by mine owner Snow Peak Mining.
“We’re adding to the staff all the time, and most of the people we employ are former mine staff who were made redundant by the closure,” De Lacy said.
“We bought the plant at the end of January 2013, and slowly carried out the improvements on it, so it’s ready to begin processing in March,” De Lacy said.
The Surveyor mine was bought by Snow Peak Mining early last year in a deal worth $40 million, and is managed by Cairns-based Consolidated Tin Mines.