OZ Minerals approve $916 million investment in major copper project

24 August

The South Australian Government today welcomed OZ Minerals’ decision to invest $916 million in Carrapateena, Australia’s largest undeveloped copper project.

The Carrapateena project will create up to 1,000 new jobs in regional South Australia during the construction and operation phases of its 20-year plus mine life as well as opportunities for Aboriginal employment and supply contracts in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

Approval has already been granted under the Mining Act for the accommodation village and airstrip while the mineral lease application is still under assessment by the State and Federal Governments.

Construction began last November on the ‘Tjati Decline’, a 7,500 metre-long, 600-metre deep passageway designed to access the underground ore body located northwest of Port Augusta.

Carrapateena was the first major success of the South Australian Government’s Plan for Accelerating Exploration, which funded 50 per cent of the original drilling program.

The decision by OZ Minerals to greenlight the Carrapateena project aligns with the objectives of South Australia’s Copper Strategy launched 18 months ago by Premier Weatherill.

The 65,000-plus tonnes a year output from Carrapateena will be a significant contributor to the Copper Strategy’s target of producing 1 million tonnes a year of the red metal.

OZ Minerals also estimates annual production of 67,000 ounces of gold at Carrapateena.

Carrapateena’s copper concentrate is expected to be among the highest grade on world markets, with production costs expected to be among the lowest.

South Australia’s mining regulator is currently assessing the mining lease application as part of a robust and transparent process that has included opportunities for public consultation.

Premier Jay Weatherill said today’s decision is the $916 million pay off for the State Government’s strategic partnership with OZ Minerals and our economic priority for unlocking our resource potential.

“This announcement is yet another vote of confidence in South Australia’s economy. In the past two months alone, we’ve seen significant investments in SA by Liberty House Group, Tesla, Neoen, SkyCity, Solar Reserve, BHP and now OZ Minerals – totalling several billion dollars,” Mr Weatherill said.

“This copper project showcases the importance of the resources sector to the South Australian economy with investment in Carrapateena creating local jobs, infrastructure and opportunities for Aboriginal participation.

“This Government and industry partnership has consistently delivered jobs and investment as well as supporting research into innovative processing techniques.

“OZ Minerals should also be applauded for the way in which it has partnered with the Kokatha people to ensure that the traditional landowners also benefit from this major investment.”

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said board approval is a major milestone toward developing Carrapateena as a $916 million project to create jobs and economic activity in regional South Australia.

“PACE funding was crucial to the discovery of Australia’s largest undeveloped copper deposit and the Government has continued to support this major project through our Copper Strategy,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“Importantly, the greenlight for investment at Carrapateena will support OZ Minerals to develop its other deposits within South Australia’s Copper Belt at Khamsin and Fremantle Doctor.

“OZ Minerals’ decision to invest in South Australia highlights the confidence investors have in this State and the business climate we have created through our tax and regulatory reforms.

“As part of our ongoing strategic partnership, a team has been established within the Resources Infrastructure Task Force to assist OZ Minerals to work through its energy, water and other infrastructure requirements.”