Australia’s largest gold producer, Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) is investing A$246 million (about $182m) to expand its Telfer gold-copper operations, which include the Main Dome, West Dome open pits and underground mines, for at least two years.
The company said it the West Dome Stage 5 cutback would allow further mine life extension opportunities to be assessed within the open pit and underground at Telfer located in the metals-rich Paterson province of Western Australia.
The project is nearby the company’s Havieron gold-copper project, which Newcrest is developing in partnership with Greatland Gold (LON: GGP).
Expanding open pit mining at Telfer will keep operations running for at least two more years.
“This… is an investment in Telfer’s future which will ensure the operation is able to continue for at least the next two years,” chief executive Sandeep Biswas said.
“With additional drilling, we believe there is the potential for further mine life extensions in the open pit and the underground beyond this time,” he noted.
Production stripping for the Stage 5 cutback will start in September, with first ore production expected to reach the Telfer mill in March 2022, Newcrest said.
The company noted that no extra permits, licences or regulatory approvals are needed for the project, adding that it won’t seek further gold-price hedges linked to it.
Telfer has the largest gold processing facility in the remote Paterson Province, where it produces gold doré and copper-gold concentrates. In the six months to June 30, the operation yielded 185,000 ounces of gold, 5,000 tonnes of copper and 52,000 ounces of silver.
Newcrest, which is also the world’s no. 3 gold producer by market value, has been aggressively searching for juniors with appealing assets to jointly develop.
Early last year, it acquired a 70% stake in Canada’s Red Chris copper and gold mine from Imperial Metals (TSX: III).
The Paterson region hosts several large gold and/or copper deposits such as Nifty, Winu and Newcrest’s own Telfer.
The world’s second-largest mining company, Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO), is very invested in the area. In 2018, it applied for nearly 30 exploration licenses in Patterson, sparking a stampede into adjacent lots by other explorers, who see the miner’s activity as an indicator of a highly promising find.