Exciting times ahead for innovative Northparkes copper mine
Mining News Pro - Northparkes was Australia’s first highly efficient block cave mine, celebrated for its high quality copper and gold deposits and being the world’s most automated underground mine. Now, there are significant new operations afoot.
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According to Mining News Pro -Northparkes was Australia’s first highly efficient block cave mine, celebrated for its high quality copper and gold deposits and being the world’s most automated underground mine. Now, there are significant new operations afoot.

The future is looking extremely bright for CMOC – Northparkes Mines with two major and very exciting projects on target to secure the mine’s vision of a ‘century of mining together’. The Northparkes operation is a combination of an underground block cave mine, a sub-level cave and an ore processing plant which produces copper concentrate for export.

Northparkes Mines managing director Jim Fowler said there was so much potential for the mine, located in Central NSW just 20km from the town of Parkes.

“These projects will assist with the longevity of Northparkes, and are extremely exciting for everyone involved,” he said.

The two projects include construction and development of a new block cave mine, something most mining engineers don’t get the opportunity to be a part of, as well as an expansion of production capability.

“E26L1N (the block cave) will enable Northparkes to develop an additional underground mine area within the established E26 ore body while also providing for an appropriate operational flexibility as part of ongoing operations,” said Fowler.

“The E26L1N feasibility study is nearing completion and we are working toward a final investment decision targeted for early 2019.”

The second project involves various upgrades that have been proposed for Northparkes’ ore processing infrastructure.

Among some of the work included is the construction of an additional ball mill, relocation of supporting site infrastructure, construction of a new secondary crushing building and follow-up stages to tailings storage facilities onsite.

Interestingly, Northparkes is also a proud farming region with extensive crops. This alignment no doubt inspired their innovative approach to tailings management.

The initiative of growing crops on the surface of the storage facilities to reduce dust was an industry first, recognised for its environmental excellence in 2016.

“There is so much happening, so much innovation and improvement – it’s the dream situation of so many mining professionals throughout Australia, and the world.

“There is a very bright future for Northparkes, our employees and the community of Parkes and Forbes,” said Fowler.

It’s not only the mine that is set to grow either. The Parkes region is set for huge growth with the recent announcement of the Parkes National Logistics Hub that is strategically located at the crossroads of the North-South Newell Highway, the East-West rail line and soon, the new North-South Inland Rail, currently under construction.

Michael Kilgariff from the Australian Logistics Council said Parkes was set to be Australia’s largest intermodal hub.

All of this activity adds up to a lot of opportunity for mining professionals to make their mark with new career and lifestyle opportunities.


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