OZ Minerals’ Think & Act Differently team and EnviroCopper Ltd are working together to investigate advances in In-Situ Recovery of copper at EnviroCopper’s project at Kapunda, north of Adelaide.
OZ Minerals has committed $2.5 million over 18 months to continue studies into the potential economic extraction of copper reserves via InSitu Recovery (ISR) at the Kapunda project. EnviroCopper has previously done work on this with CSIRO and the University of Adelaide, under a CRC-P grant (Commonwealth Research Centre-Project).
“The aim is to understand the economic extraction of copper from deposits that cannot be mined conventionally due to hydrogeology and social factors, and Kapunda is a prime example,” said Philippa Faulkner, Business Manager for EnviroCopper.
ISR mining is a low footprint alternative to recover copper and gold deposits. It involves a series of injection and extraction bores that circulate lixiviant (environmentally matched solution) that rinses the copper from the ore body. ISR has been used since the 1960s, and there have been limited examples of ISR being used for metals extraction.
Leon Faulkner, Managing Director and geologist states “There are 900 copper occurrences in South Australia, many amenable to the ISR process. EnviroCopper is looking at just four of these occurrences within South Australia, amounting to potentially 2.5 MtCu.”
The existing mine at Kapunda is a tourism destination, so local community engagement has been a key focus of the work in Kapunda over the years. This style of mining successfully coexists with other economic activities e.g. tourism and agriculture. Work undertaken by CSRP in relation to the project has shown positive community attitudes towards ISR and a reinvigorated mining economy in town.
The partnership with OZ Minerals will further complement this ground-breaking work to develop an economical copper ISR demonstration site at Kapunda, which will then enable both companies to employ similar approaches to explore undervalued orebodies. Katie Hulmes, OZ Minerals’ General Manager – Transformation and Readiness, and Head of Think & Act Differently explained, ‘Through the Think & Act Differently innovation team, OZ Minerals is investigating ISR to contribute to low footprint concepts of operations. We are pleased to be able to partner with Enviro Copper to further develop this technology for metals extraction’.
EnviroCopper is a public, unlisted Mineral Exploration Company with Copper In-situ Recovery (ISR) projects at Kapunda and the Yorke Peninsula. ECL manage the Kapunda project under a Joint Venture with tenement holder Terramin Ltd (ASX:TZN) to earn 75%. EnviroCopper’s plan is to develop a Mining Lease application for the Kapunda project.
If the modern mine can be imagined, it can be created. Think & Act Differently (TAD), powered by OZ Minerals, is building an ecosystem of the curious who are exploring and accelerating themes that prioritise social and environmental responsibility for the development of the modern mine. Central to its success is the active participation of a network of people from across multiple industries, organisations, community groups, governments, research organisations and others who want to play a role in solving complex challenges.