The first copper concentrate has been produced at a copper mine in Adelaide’s southeast, marking a significant milestone for the project following its successful commissioning.

Commissioning and production of copper at Hillgrove Resources’s Kanmantoo plant has been achieved within the targeted time frame of Q1 2024.

Hillgrove is now positioned as one of the few pure play copper producers on the ASX with first revenues from sales of the copper concentrate to be received in mid-late February.

Hillgrove said there is significant opportunity to grow the resource and therefore mine life, as evidenced by:

  • The substantial JORC Exploration Target at the Project of 60 – 100Mt at 0.9 per cent to 1.2 per cent copper (Cu) and 0.1g/t to 0.2 g/t gold (Au)
  • Recent drilling results, including:
    • 36.6m at 3.35 per cent Cu from 43m downhole in East Kavanagh
    • 45.4m at 1.19 per cent Cu and 0.12g/t Au from Spitfire from 428.5m downhole 
    • 40m at 1.2 per cent Cu from 43m downhole in Central Kavanagh
    • 33.23m at 1.46 per cent Cu from 42m downhole in East Kavanagh 

Mains power has now been established to the underground operation resulting in a substantial circa 65 per cent cost reduction to power use from circa $0.40 per kilowatt hour to circa $0.13 per kilowatt hour. 

Furthermore, connection to the South Australian power grid, which is supplied by over 70 per cent renewable energy generation, substantially reduces Kanmantoo’s carbon footprint.

Hillgrove CEO and Managing Director, Lachlan Wallace, said, “First copper production from the Kanmantoo underground operation, and the transition to cashflow generation, is a watershed moment for the company.”

Mr Wallace said that over the next few months, mine output and copper production are expected to ramp up as the planned additional work areas are established underground.

“Completing this transition from explorer to producer makes Hillgrove Resources one of only a few copper producers on the ASX, and doing so in eight months highlights the company’s capability to deliver on stated objectives.

“Operations will be bedded down at Kanmantoo as we ramp up to steady stage production, and our attention will turn to growing the business by converting future exploration and development opportunities.”

Mr Wallace said the project is well-positioned to take advantage of the anticipated growth in demand for copper as the world continues to decarbonise through electrification. 

“To leverage our position as a copper producer into the future, we are actively seeking to grow both the mine life and the annual copper production profile through exploration, starting with our substantial 60-100 million tonne exploration target within close proximity to the underutilised processing plant, including the recently discovered Kanmantoo Deeps target.”

Featured image: The production of copper concentrate through the flotation circuit at Kanmantoo mine. Image credit: Hillgrove Resources.

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