Prominent Hill

PH Map 20140829 web

OZ Minerals Limited owns 100% of the Prominent Hill operation located in South Australia. Prominent Hill produces one of the highest grade copper concentrates traded on the open market.


Key Statistics

Name Prominent Hill
Location Located 650 kilometres north west of Adelaide, 130 kilometres north west of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam and 130 kilometres south east of the town of Coober Pedy in the Gawler Craton of South Australia.
Product Copper-gold concentrate
Employees Approximately 1,200 (including contractors)
Mining Method Open pit and underground
Processing Method Conventional crushing, grinding and flotation
First Production February 2009


Prominent Hill is located 650km north-west of Adelaide and 130km south-east of the town of Coober Pedy in South Australia. The Prominent Hill copper-gold deposit was discovered in 2001 by Adelaide based Minotaur Exploration Limited and was a stand-out greenfield discovery in Australia.

OZ Minerals moved to 100% ownership of Prominent Hill in early 2005 and began mining at Prominent Hill in 2006. First production of copper concentrate was in February 2009.

Situated in one of the world’s most mining-friendly locations in South Australia, Prominent Hill displays highly competitive fundamentals. It is a large copper-gold resource, it is high grade, the ore is processed using conventional methods and there is significant exploration potential.

Prominent Hill operation summary

The Prominent Hill operation is comprised of the Malu open pit mine, the Ankata underground mine, a grinding and flotation processing plant, a permanent village and a haulage road, power line and bore field. Prominent Hill is a fly-in, fly-out operation employing approximately 1,200 employees and contractors.

Prominent Hill produces some of the world's highest grade copper concentrates. These concentrates travel directly to customers including smelters in Asia and Europe via the Adelaide to Darwin railway (which passes within 116km of the Prominent Hill mine) to the Port of Adelaide and then via ship to the waiting smelters.


First production of Prominent Hill copper concentrates occurred in February 2009. In its first full year of production in 2010 Prominent Hill exceeded expectations producing 112,171 tonnes of contained copper and 196,400 ounces of gold.

In 2014, the Prominent Hill operation produced 92,615 tonnes of copper and 148,192 ounces of gold, exceeding guidance (2014 guidance 85,000–90,000 of copper; 130,000–140,000 ounces of gold).

Production outlook

Copper production Range
2015 Copper production 110,000 to 120,000 tonnes
2016-2017 Copper production 105,000 to 115,000 tonnes
2018 Copper production 90,000 to 100,000 tonnes
Gold production Range
2015-2018 Gold production 100,000 to 110,000 ounces   


* Production Target - A proportion of the production targets for 2016, 2017 and 2018 on page 16 is based on non reserve material. There is a low level of geological confidence associated with inferred or unclassified mineral resources and there is no certainty that further exploration work will result in the determination of indicated mineral resources or that the production target itself will be realised. The Reserves and Resources underpinning the production targets for 2016, 2017 and 2018 have been prepared by a Competent Person in accordance with the JORC Code 2012.

Production targets based on;
Reserves Proven material 35.6%
Reserves Probable material 56.8%
Resources Measured material 1.0%
Resources Indicated material 0.6%
Resources Inferred material 3.5%
Non classified material 2.5%
Previously multi year production outlook issued pre Malu Underground reserve. Further information on Prominent Hill Resources and Reserves is available in the Annual Resource and Reserve Update for Prominent Hill released on 20 November 2014 which is available at and in the OZ Minerals 2014 Annual Report.



Ankata underground mine

In 2010 the Board approved construction of the Prominent Hill Ankata underground project. Development of the project commenced in November 2010 and first ore from stoping was produced in the first quarter of 2012. The underground operation successfully ramped up during the third quarter 2012 to reach its full 1.2 million tonnes per annum mining rate.

The Ankata underground mine successfully completed is first full year of production in 2013 with a record 1.2 million tonnes of ore mined. Since commissioning in 2012, Ankata Underground mine life has been extended by a further four years to 2022.

Ankata is a high-grade Resource located 800 metres away from the Malu open pit. The underground phase will enable OZ Minerals to continue to maximise the value extracted from Prominent Hill.

Mining of the underground is via a techique called sub-level open stoping. The ore has similar metallurgical characteristics to that in the open pit and the material is blended with the open pit feed for processing.

Ankata underground mine video

View the video below on the Ankata underground mine.

Malu Underground

Malu Underground is the third mining front to be developed at Prominent Hill. Mining is via underground sub-level open stoping. First production from stoping was achieved in early October 2014 as forecast.

Underground access to the Malu Underground area was achieved via an extension to the main Ankata underground decline in early 2013 and resource drill testing has been on-going since that time.  

When at full production the mine is expected to reach a 1.6 million tonnes per annum mining rate.



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