File image: Reuters

Xstrata Copper has started production at its A$300 million Mount Margaret mining operation in Queensland‚ Australia‚ says the Swiss-based diversified miner.

This comes after mining activities officially started last month‚ with ore now being trucked to the Ernest Henry Mining for processing.

Xstrata Copper‚ which purchased the Mount Margaret mining tenements last year for A$175 million‚ intends to invest a further A$124 million in the operation over the next five years.

In total‚ the operation is expected to add 20 million tons of ore to Ernest Henry’s existing production profile throughout its five year life. It is also expected to produce around 140‚000 tons of copper‚ 83‚000 ounces of gold and 560‚000 tons of magnetite in concentrate over that time.

Ernest Henry Mining general manager Myles Johnston said Mount Margaret was progressing on target with personnel and machinery gradually ramping up in line with the production schedule.

“Approximately four million tons of material has been mined since we started the pre-strip in July‚” Johnston said.

Johnston said ore was now being trucked to the Ernest Henry operation where it would be temporarily stockpiled prior to processing‚ which would commence in late September.

The tenements‚ comprising E1 and Monakoff‚ are located eight kilometres east and 21 kilometres south of Ernest Henry Mining and are being developed through a series of small open pit mines.

Xstrata plans to continue exploration at Mount Margaret to identify any additional ore resources for future development. - I-Net Bridge