Located at Lawn Hill, 250km north-west of Mount Isa in the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria, the Century mine began open-pit production in 1999. During its 16 years of operation, Century was one of the largest zinc mines in the world, producing and processing an average of 475,00tpa zinc concentrate and 50,000tpa lead concentrates at Lawn Hill. The product was transferred in slurry form via a 304km underground pipeline to Century’s Port facility at Karumba for shipping to smelters in Australia, Europe and Asia.
The cessation of processing operations by MMG at Century in early 2016 following depletion of the Century ore reserves presented an opportunity for a focused junior to monetise valuable remaining mineral assets. These include over 2,200,000t of JORC compliant zinc metal equivalent resources located within mineralised tailings, and over 1,000,000t of JORC compliant zinc and lead resources in the Silver King, South Block and East Fault Block base metal deposits. In addition, Century hosts several substantial phosphate deposits which are yet to be developed.
For more information on Century’s mineral assets, please click HERE.
Beyond the mineral assets, Century includes world-class processing and logistics infrastructure:
- at the mine site, a scalable and adaptable 7.0Mtpa mineral flotation processing plant (7.0Mtpa hard rock or 12.5Mtpa tailings), 400-man accommodation camp, offices, airport, full laboratory and grid power connectivity available;
- at Karumba, a large-scale port facility with concentrate dewatering and drying operations, an 80,000t mechanised storage shed, ship-loading facility, and a 5,000 tonne self-propelled, self-discharging maritime transhipment vessel;
- a 304km underground slurry pipeline which connects the mine and the Karumba port.
Overview of Century Mine and key infrastructure
For more information Century’s infrastructure, please click HERE.
Century also includes investments in agricultural land holdings and an established cattle business, including a 49% interest in the Lawn Hill & Riversleigh Pastoral Holding Company. For more information, please click HERE.
Century Restart – Economic Rehabilitation
With the final processing of open pit ore from Century in late 2015, the focus of previous owner MMG was turned to the progressive rehabilitation and ultimate closure of the mine site. Significant rehabilitation activities have already been undertaken by MMG, with over A$70M spent on rehabilitation to date. A comprehensive plan of work is also in place to progressively take the mine site, the pipeline and the port facility to full closure over a long-term period through to 2050.
In November 2016, after a review of the current rehabilitation progress, the Queensland Government revised the financial assurance bond required for the Century mine to A$193.7M.
The re-treatment of tailings at Century commenced in August 2018 and is currently ramping up to name-plate capacity of over 500,000 tonnes per annum of zinc concentrate.
The restarting of operations at Century, initially via tailings reprocessing, allows much of the scheduled rehabilitation to be achieved through new cash flow generating site activities. In the case of the Century Tailings Deposit, after reprocessing of the tailings has occurred, the material is planned to be relocated back into the existing open pit, which allows for final encapsulation via subaqueous deposition and eliminates the need for capping of the tailings dam on surface.
The reprocessing of tailings and encapsulation within the open pit also provides a significant reduction in the overall footprint of disturbance of the Century mining operations and therefore is expected to allow for a progressive reduction in the total financial assurance required for the site.
In addition to tailings reprocessing, extraction of defined in-situ base metal deposits, phosphate deposits and regional toll treatment opportunities will also be assessed, potentially providing further economic benefits and assistance toward scheduled site rehabilitation.
The restarting of operations and long term ongoing infrastructure usage also eliminates the need for infrastructure dismantling and final closure activities until potentially well after 2050.
For more information on the Restart Feasibility Study, please click HERE.
MMG is supportive of New Century’s plan for progressive economic rehabilitation of Century and also recognises the significant additional benefits restarting operations will bring including continued employment opportunities and regional economic activity. This includes a commitment of A$46.6M toward the funding of ongoing rehabilitation, care and maintenance and meeting Century’s existing stakeholder payment obligations.
For more information on the acquisition of the Century Mine, please download our press release HERE.