Australian resource company TriAusMin is hoping to revive copper, lead and zinc mining in Goulburn as gold prices show an upward trend.
The NSW government gave the go-ahead for the resumption of the Woodlawn mine’s tailings and head underground at the Lachlan Ford Belt last month.
The mine has the capability to produce around 150,000 tonnes of zinc, copper and lead a year for up to 21 years. Around 1.5 million tonnes of tailings and underground ore can be mined per year.
The mine will bring 200 construction jobs and 140 ongoing jobs, mostly hired from Goulburn and Queanbeyan.
The SMH reported the company can do the tailings and go underground as separate projects.
The company’s CEO Wayne Taylor said generating finances remained a challenge.
“It’s not an easy environment, still quite challenging although we have seen this week a little more positive signs on the gold market and hoping that will help more positive sentiment back to our sector, which is dearly needed at the moment,” he said.
Commencement of the mine relies on investors and funding over the next few weeks or months.
“There is quite a bit of interest. There is interest in exposure to the zinc market, which has very good supply and demand fundamentals if you are on supply side.”
The mine has major concentrates of zinc, followed by lead and copper and small concentrates of gold and silver.
Taylor said the company has a few choices.
“If we start with tailings, we’ll have construction costs of $93 million and more to get into a cash-flow positive.
“Ideally, if we could run underground and the tailings together, right from outset, which is where the high capital number comes from, that would give us access to much higher grade material and using the tailings in essence to make up a production source, so we would fill plant capacity with the tailings.”
Taylor said the North American financial markets are lucrative because it had better awareness of zinc compared to the Australian market.
Taylor spoke at an investor and mining conference, Sydney Resources Round Up.
He said the ‘project will still make money in today’s market’ due to access to existing power and transport infrastructure, a good resource base and strong community support.
The Woodlawn mine was closed in 1998 when its former owner went into administration. TriAusMin believes the site still has high quality deposits on site.
The mine's void is now being used as landfill for Sydney's waste. This will carry on next to the mine.
Waste reaches the void by train.
In 2012, the company reported resources of around one million tonnes of zinc, 0.4 million tonnes of lead, 0.18 million tonnes of copper, 27 million ounces of silver and 167,000 onces of gold.