Unveiling BHP's Copper Discoveries: Oak Dam Exploration

Tajha Pritchard
Image: Phawat/stock.adobe.com

BHP's exploration program at its Oak Dam copper deposit has uncovered significant high-grade copper reserves located deep beneath the Olympic Dam ore body, with some grades surpassing two percent.

Situated 65km southeast of the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia, the Oak Dam deposit adds to the region's rich resources, which include copper, gold, and uranium.

Following the completion of its acquisition of OZ Minerals in May last year, BHP consolidated its presence in South Australia's far north, integrating the Prominent Hill and Carrapateena mines with the Olympic Dam mine, smelter, refinery, and Oak Dam deposit into a cohesive copper province.

Anna Wiley, BHP's asset president for copper in South Australia, emphasized the strategic importance of this integration in enhancing the economic and sustainable production and processing of copper for global markets.

Progress continues at Oak Dam, with 12 drilling rigs currently active on-site, having completed 150 kilometers of drilling. Additionally, infrastructure including a core processing facility and a 150-person accommodation camp are nearing completion. Exploration efforts extend to the Olympic Dam Deeps, situated beneath the known Olympic Dam deposit.

In parallel with exploration activities, BHP is evaluating options for a new two-stage smelter at Olympic Dam, potentially doubling its capacity to 1–1.7 million tonnes and boosting copper production to approximately 500,000 tonnes per annum.

The South Australian Government, having approved the Oak Dam exploration program, welcomes the discovery as a significant development aligned with the state's prosperity goals. Premier Peter Malinauskas highlighted the potential for job creation and economic growth, emphasizing the importance of water availability for resource extraction and refinement.

BHP's CEO, Mike Henry, shared updates on the potential two-stage smelter at Oak Dam during the BMO Global Metals, Mining, and Critical Minerals Conference. A final investment decision for the smelter is anticipated between the 2025–26 and 2026–27 financial years.

Newmont's Strategic Moves: Divestments, Acquisitions, and Future Prospects

Tajha Pritchard
gold nugget

Newmont has announced its intention to divest six gold mines and two gold projects, with two of the projects located in Western Australia.

The mines set for divestment include Éléonore, Musselwhite, and Porcupine in Canada, the Cripple Creek and Victor mine in the US, the Akyem mine in Ghana, and the Telfer mine in Western Australia, the latter being acquired from Newcrest in November of last year.

Additionally, Newmont plans to sell its 70% stake in the Havieron project in Western Australia, with the remaining 30% owned by Greatland Gold. The company also intends to divest the Coffee project in Canada.

According to Newmont's president and CEO, Tom Palmer, these divestments are occurring because the assets do not meet the company's Tier-1 criteria, despite being valuable assets managed by capable teams.

Interest from potential buyers has already been noted by Newmont for these assets.

The announcement of the divestments coincides with the release of Newmont's full-year report for 2023, which outlines a positive outlook following the conclusion of the Newcrest acquisition. The company reported production of 5.5 million gold ounces and 891,000 gold equivalent ounces from various metals in 2023, aligning with its revised guidance after incorporating Newcrest's assets.

Despite a net loss primarily due to impairment charges, reclamation charges, and integration costs related to the Newcrest acquisition, Newmont declared an increase in total reserves and resources.

Looking ahead, Newmont aims to integrate and enhance its portfolio of Tier-1 assets for continued growth. It plans to reduce debt by $1 billion in 2024, alongside identifying $500 million in cost and productivity improvements.

Palmer emphasized the company's stable production and reinvestment strategy for the year, positioning it well to meet its commitments in 2024 and beyond. Newmont expects its 2024 production to reach approximately 6.9 million ounces, supported by its Tier-1 Portfolio contributing 5.6 million ounces.

Why Candidates Should Consider Using Mining Employment Services Recruiters in Their Job Search

Tajha Pritchard

Are you a job seeker navigating the competitive landscape of employment opportunities in the mining industry? Have you considered enlisting the support of the Recruiters from Mining Employment Services in your quest for the perfect position? Here are three 3 reasons why you should leverage the expertise of our recruiters in your job search:

  1. Access to Hidden Job Market: Our recruiters at Mining Employment Services often have access to job openings that are not publicly advertised. These positions, often referred to as the "hidden job market," can make up a significant portion of available opportunities. Companies often choose to work exclusively with our recruiters to fill certain roles, relying on their expertise to find suitable candidates. By partnering with a us, you gain access to these hidden opportunities, expanding their job search beyond what's visible on job boards or company websites.
  2. Personalized Guidance and Support: Navigating the job market can be daunting, especially when seeking specific roles or industries. Our recruiters offer personalized guidance and support throughout the entire job search process. From assisting with resume writing and interview preparation to negotiating job offers, we provide valuable insights and assistance tailored to each your unique needs and career goals. Our expertise in the hiring process and industry knowledge can significantly enhance a your chances of securing the right job opportunity.
  3. Networking and Industry Connections: ​Our recruiters have extensive networks and connections within specific industries or sectors. By working with a us, you​ can tap into these networks, gaining access to valuable industry contacts and insights. We introduce you to hiring managers, decision-makers, and other professionals who may not be easily accessible through traditional job search methods. Building relationships with industry insiders can open doors to new opportunities and career advancement possibilities.

In conclusion, candidates stand to benefit greatly from utilizing the services of recruiters in their job search endeavors. From gaining access to hidden job opportunities to receiving personalized guidance and tapping into valuable industry connections, we play a pivotal role in helping you navigate the complexities of the job market and secure their desired positions. If you're a candidate looking to take your job search to the next level, consider partnering with a us to maximize your chances of success.​


Process Technicians Required

Tajha Pritchard
job advert

MES is actively looking for Process Technicians with flotation experience to join our mid tier gold clients operation. For further details, please contact Liz Spencer or Domenic Olimpio on 6467 4814 or 6467 4811.

Nickel Designated Critical Mineral: Unlocking Relief for Industry Amid Downturn

Tajha Pritchard
open pit nickel mine

Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King has designated nickel as a critical mineral, unlocking access to billions of dollars in relief for nickel companies.

Since the last update of the critical minerals list on December 16 last year, several nickel facilities have either reduced operations or entered care and maintenance. Among those affected are Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo, IGO, First Quantum Minerals, Chalice Mining, and Panoramic Resources.

BHP recently announced the closure of part of its Kambalda processing operations, and it's contemplating placing its Nickel West operations into care and maintenance, potentially jeopardizing thousands of jobs.

However, the inclusion of nickel on the critical minerals list means companies can now access financing through $4 billion in critical minerals grant programs, including the $40 million international partnerships program. Such grants could help operators navigate the nickel downturn and prevent closures.

Minister King acknowledged the significant challenges facing the nickel industry, with low international nickel prices expected to persist until the market surplus is addressed.

The decision to classify nickel as a critical mineral follows a roundtable discussion led by Minister King and Western Australian Minister for Mines David Michael, where industry challenges were addressed. Both federal and state governments committed to expediting nickel taxation and royalties incentivization.

WA Premier Roger Cook announced a 50% royalty relief program if the average price of nickel concentrate falls below $US20,000 per tonne, with companies required to repay the rebate in equal quarterly installments over 24 months.

AMEC CEO Warren Pearce welcomed the addition of nickel to the critical minerals list and the relief packages but emphasized the need for further action, suggesting the introduction of a Production Tax Credit (PTC) similar to the one in the United States. This, he argued, would ensure Australia remains competitive in the global energy transition.

Greatland Gold Successfully Completes Exploration Program at Ernest Giles Project

Tajha Pritchard

Greatland Gold plc (AIM:GGP) is delighted to announce the successful completion of the WA Government Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) co-funded drilling program at the Meadows gold prospect within the Company's 100% owned Ernest Giles project (Ernest Giles).

Key Highlights:

  • Two diamond core (DD) holes were drilled, totaling 1,267.7 meters.
  • EGD006 returned anomalous mineralization of 8 meters at 0.12g/t Au from 316 meters, associated with alteration and anomalous pathfinder geochemistry.
  • The drilling results provide crucial geological and structural information for planning a systematic reverse circulation drill program scheduled for this year to test highly prospective targets at Meadows prospect.
  • A ground induced polarization (IP) survey is planned for later in 2024 to further refine targets, along with additional airborne geophysics.

Greatland's Managing Director, Shaun Day, commented:

The completion of the Land Access Agreement and EIS co-funded drilling at Ernest Giles marks a significant milestone for the project, representing the first on-ground exploration in over five years."

"Ernest Giles is an exciting 100% owned project situated outside our strong foothold in the Paterson region, in an underexplored Archean greenstone belt known to host many Tier 1 deposits."

"These initial results are encouraging and confirm the prospectivity of the project. The results will inform further exploration work, including a more extensive drilling program this year."

Completed Drilling Program:

The two completed EIS co-funded diamond core drill holes, EGD005 & EGD006, provided critical geological understanding of the project and guided future targeting. Gold anomalism was confirmed to be hosted within altered basalts, banded iron formation (BIF), and syenite.

The results suggest encouraging broad, weak (Au-Ag-Cu-Zn) mineralization, possibly indicating the edge of a larger system. Further drilling will utilize this information to better target mineralized areas.

Follow-up RC Drilling Program and IP Survey:

A follow-up RC drilling program is planned for H2 2024, utilizing information gained from the recent drilling to systematically test highly prospective geological targets at Meadows prospect.

A detailed ground IP survey is also planned for later in 2024 to refine targeting approaches. This survey will help identify sulphide haloes around orebodies, providing cost-effective identification of mineralization.

Project Location and Tenure:

The Ernest Giles project is located approximately 250km north-east of Laverton and covers a folded belt of magnetic greenstone rocks typical of the highly gold and nickel endowed parts of the Archean Goldfields of Western Australia.

Greatland's tenure at Ernest Giles comprises a comprehensive holding over the most prospective near-surface portions of the Ernest Giles belt, covering more than 1,950km2.

Open Pit and Underground Mine Surveyors Required

Tajha Pritchard
Mine Surveyor Advert

MES is actively looking for Open Pit and Underground Mine Surveyors to join mining operations focused on gold and base metals within the mid-tier range. For further details, please contact Taj Pritchard on 6467 4807

De Grey Mining and Kalamazoo Resources Forge Strategic Partnership

Tajha Pritchard
gold nugget

De Grey Mining and gold explorer Kalamazoo Resources have entered an exclusive option agreement regarding Kalamazoo’s Ashburton gold project (AGP).

Situated on the southern edge of the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia, the AGP was acquired by Kalamazoo from Northern Star Resources in 2020.

Luke Reinehr, Executive Chair of Kalamazoo, expressed satisfaction with the agreement, stating, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with De Grey for the future sale of the Ashburton gold project.”

Reinehr highlighted the substantial value added to the project since its acquisition in 2020 and outlined the terms of the agreement, which include a potential total payment of $33 million to Kalamazoo in cash and/or De Grey shares should De Grey exercise the option to acquire the AGP.

The agreement grants De Grey a 12-month option, extendable for an additional six months, to purchase the Ashburton project, boasting 1.44 million ounces (Moz) of gold resources along with all associated mining and exploration licenses and applications.

During the option period, De Grey plans to conduct metallurgical drilling and test-work, remodel geological domains for processing and mining purposes, and conduct open pit optimizations at the AGP's Mount Olympus resource.

De Grey is obligated to invest a minimum of $1 million in exploration and assessment activities at the AGP and share all results with Kalamazoo.

Glenn Jardine, Managing Director of De Grey Mining, discussed the strategic significance of the proposed 10Mtpa gold plant at Hemi, including a 0.8Mtpa POx circuit, as a regionally strategic asset capable of processing gold ore and concentrates from other regional gold projects.

De Grey sees the AGP as an opportunity to enhance the regional opportunities surrounding the Hemi gold project, potentially increasing Hemi’s annual gold production rate, economic returns, and project life.

Silver Lake Resources and Red 5 Merger

Tajha Pritchard
gold ore

Silver Lake Resources and Red 5 are set to merge, forming a diversified mid-tier gold company projected to produce around 445,000 ounces per year.

Silver Lake acquired 11% of Red 5's shares in September 2023. Shareholders of Silver Lake will receive approximately 3.434 Red 5 shares for each Silver Lake share they own.

Upon completion of the merger, the combined company will rank just behind Regis Resources in annual gold production, solidifying its position as a mid-tier player in the industry.

The merger process is expected to begin with a court hearing in mid-to-late April, aiming for implementation by June.

Following the merger, the company will control four gold projects: King of the Hills (KOTH), Deflector, and Mount Monger in Western Australia, as well as Sugar Zone in Ontario, Canada.

According to the presentation, the merger will offer shareholders of both companies the chance to be part of a stronger entity, providing benefits that would not be attainable independently.

The management team of the merged entity will be led by Luke Tonkin from Silver Lake as the managing director and chief executive officer, supported by Richard Hay from Red 5 as chief operating officer, and Struan Richards from Silver Lake as chief financial officer.

IGO Transitions Cosmos Nickel Mine to Care and Maintenance

Tajha Pritchard
nickle mine

Following a review of its Cosmos nickel mine in WA, IGO has opted to transition the site into a state of care and maintenance. The closure is projected to be finalized by the end of May of this year, while IGO evaluates the potential value of continuing select exploration initiatives in the vicinity.

This decision coincides with IGO's announcement regarding the endurance of the current downturn in lithium prices, coupled with a reduction in production at its Greenbushes lithium joint venture in WA.

In the words of IGO's managing director and chief executive officer, Ivan Vella, "This outcome is not what anyone at IGO desired. However, the operational and financial risks of further development at Cosmos in the present climate cannot be overlooked." Vella further emphasized the company's belief in the intrinsic value of Cosmos but stressed the necessity for disciplined capital allocation amidst the nickel market's challenges, while maintaining the flexibility to resume operations if market conditions improve.

In its December 2023 quarterly report, IGO revealed reductions in both net cash and group nickel production, reflecting the broader industry challenges and uncertainties amid downturns in the nickel and lithium sectors.

As a consequence of the closure, redundancies are anticipated, yet IGO is dedicated to supporting its workforce during this transition. Vella expressed gratitude to the on-site team for their exceptional efforts in navigating challenges and advancing the project. He reiterated the company's commitment to prioritizing the welfare of its employees and pledged to provide comprehensive support to those affected by the transition.