MINING at Altona Mining’s Little Eva copper-gold deposit, 95km northeast of Mt Isa in Queensland has been deemed economical after the company received positive results from a definitive feasibility study (DFS).
GR Engineering Services conducted the feasibility study on Little Eva, which is part of Altona’s larger Roseby copper project.
“We are delighted to announce the results of the Little Eva definitive feasibility study following the drilling success of 2011. Little Eva is clearly a significant asset. The scale of annual production of 7 million tonnes of ore for 38,800 tonnes of copper and 17,200 ounces of gold would make Little Eva one of Australia’s larger base metal developments,” Altona managing director Alistair Cowden said.
“The DFS envisages open pit mining of Little Eva and three smaller deposits.
“It is particularly pleasing that this large project can be delivered for a total capital cost, including pre-strip, of only $320 million in a technically straightforward and low-risk operation,” Mr Cowden added.
The study identified an 11-year mine life with a projected $2.97 billion in total revenue, based on reserves of 375,000t of copper and 205,000oz of gold. Little Eva’s net present value was estimated at $252 million, with a 22 per cent internal rate of return.
Payback for capital expenses and costs associated with getting the mine up and running has been estimated to take three years.
The $320 million project capital cost includes a $181 million simple, low-risk processing plant.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation are expected to be $135 million annually for the first five years, with average copper cash costs of US$1.73 per pound. In addition to Little Eva and Roseby,
Altona owns 100 per cent of the Outokumpu copper project in South East Finland, which achieved first concentrate production in February this year.
“We are excited that Altona is now on the brink of becoming a mid-tier copper producer as Little Eva would combine with our Finnish operations to lift Altona’s annual production to approximately 47,000 tonnes of copper and 25,000 ounces of gold,” Mr Cowden said.


By Lorna Seatter