OZ Minerals’ Think & Act Differently team and EnviroCopper Ltd are working together to study the progress of in situ copper recovery at EnviroCopper’s project in Kapunda, north Adelaide.
OZ Minerals has committed $2.5 million over 18 months to continue studies on the potential economic extraction of copper reserves via InSitu Recovery (ISR) at the Kapunda project. EnviroCopper has already worked on this topic with CSIRO and the University of Adelaide, under a CRC-P (Commonwealth Research Centre-Project) grant.
“The goal is to understand the economic extraction of copper from deposits that cannot be mined conventionally due to hydrogeological and social factors, and Kapunda is a prime example of this,” said Philippa Faulkner, Commercial Director from EnviroCopper.
SRI mining is a low-footprint alternative for recovering copper and gold deposits. It involves a series of injection and extraction drillings that circulate a leachant (solution suitable for the environment) which rinses the copper from the orebody. ISR has been used since the 1960s, and there have been limited examples of ISR being used for metal mining.
Leon Faulkner, Managing Director and Geologist says: “There are 900 copper occurrences in South Australia, many of which are suitable for the ISR process. EnviroCopper studies just four such occurrences in South Australia, potentially representing 2.5 MtCu.
The existing mine at Kapunda is a tourist destination, so local community engagement has been a key part of the work at Kapunda over the years. This style of mining successfully coexists with other economic activities such as tourism and agriculture. Work undertaken by CSRP in relation to the project has shown positive community attitudes towards SRI and a reinvigorated mining economy in the town.
The partnership with OZ Minerals will further complement this ground-breaking work to develop a cost-effective copper SRI demonstration site at Kapunda, which will then allow the two companies to employ similar approaches to explore undervalued deposits. Katie Hulmes, Managing Director of OZ Minerals – Processing and Preparation, and Head of Think & Act Differently explained: “Through the Think & Act Differently innovation team, OZ Minerals is exploring SRI to contribute to innovative concepts. “low-footprint mining. We are pleased to be able to partner with Enviro Copper to further develop this metal extraction technology.”
EnviroCopper is a public, unlisted mineral exploration company with in situ copper recovery (ISR) projects in Kapunda and the Yorke Peninsula. ECL is running the Kapunda project in a joint venture with building owner Terramin Ltd (ASX: TZN) to earn 75%. EnviroCopper’s plan is to develop a mining lease application for the Kapunda project.
Think and act differently
If the modern mine can be imagined, it can be created. Think & Act Differently (TAD), powered by OZ Minerals, builds an ecosystem of curious people who explore and accelerate themes that prioritize social and environmental responsibility for modern mine development. At the heart of its success is the active participation of a network of people from multiple industries, organizations, community groups, governments, research organizations and others who want to play a part in solving complex challenges.