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Aurizon expects Central Queensland coal traffic to be disrupted for a number of days after an unloaded coal train derailed near Middlemount.

A company spokeswoman said the two train drivers involved in the incident, about 1pm Sunday, were uninjured.

“A locomotive and a number of wagons have been derailed. There is also damage to the track and the overhead power lines,” she said.

“Aurizon has mobilised recovery crews. It is anticipated the recovery will take a number of days and there will be train cancellations as a result.

“Aurizon has notified customers who operate coal mines in this area.  The cause of the derailment is unknown at this stage. ”

Coal network derailment sparks cancellations
New Century Resources is continuing its march towards becoming a Top 10 global producer, with a seven per cent lift in zinc production last quarter.

Focus for the latter part of 2019 was on commissioning and stabilisation of the upgraded scavenger circuit within the processing plant at the company’s Century zinc operation in the lower Gulf region.

The upgrade work was completed in late October, with the slurry commissioning process taking about six weeks before stability of operations resumed.

The December 2019 quarter average mining rate was 8.3Mtpa, with progressive ramp up during the quarter for a current mining rate of 8.9Mtpa into January 2020, according to an operational update released to the ASX.

It produced 28,000 tonnes of zinc metal in the quarter, including 10,000 tonnes in December alone.

New Century says the Century site’s expansion to a 12Mtpa operation will be proceeding as planned in the first half of 2020.

Expansion capital expenditure is about 73 per cent complete, with about $13 million remaining to be spent this financial year.

New Century expects to produce 29,000– 35,000 tonnes of zinc metal in the first three months of 2020.

New Century zinc ramp-up on track in 2020
A sampling program at Metallica Minerals’ Cape Flattery silica sands project in Far North Queensland has confirmed the presence of high-purity silica sands.

Metallica this week released the results of a sampling program completed late last year at the site, adjacent to Mitsubishi’s Cape Flattery silica sands mine.

It said the program consisted of hand-auguring eight holes to a depth of 4.75m on the eastern target area of its tenement.

High-purity silica finds at Metallica Minerals project

The majority returned 1m sample intervals of more than 99 per cent silica oxide. Results were comparable with known deposits in the region, it said.

“Metallica is very encouraged by these results that further confirm the potential of the CFSS project, particularly due to the project being adjacent to the designated Cape Flattery port area; this is expected to assist in the process for establishing an infrastructure solution to export silica sand from Cape Flattery,” Metallica interim chief executive officer Scott Waddell said.

High-purity silica sands are used in industries including glass-making, foundry casting, water filtration, hydraulic fracturing and solar panels.
Castillo Copper has delved into historical data for its Mount Oxide project, revealing intercepts of up to 28.4 per cent copper from a supergene ore body.

The review of data for the Big One deposit and Boomerang Mine within the project verifies they are highly prospective priority targets, the company says.

It has described the results as a game-changing development that enhance Mount Oxide’s exploration upside at the same time as a resurgence of interest in the region by large blue-chip groups including Rio Tinto.

“Locating this historic drilling, assay and production data for the Big One Deposit and Boomerang Mine within the 961km2 Mount Oxide pillar, which is in the heart of the Mount Isa copper-belt is a tremendous windfall,” Castillo Copper managing director Simon Paull said.

“As a starting point, our geology team now have ample data points to start formulating a drilling campaign to re-test and potentially expand the known ore body at the Big One deposit, then focus on Boomerang Mine and Arya Prospect."

The Mount Oxide project is located 150km north of Mount Isa near the old Mount Oxide copper mine.

It is one of three core pillars Castillo is targeting with the aim of becoming a mid-tier copper producer, along with the Cangai copper mine in New South Wales and a package of assets in Zambia.

Castillo Copper’s geology team had to track down the previous holder of the Big One Deposit mining tenure ( West Australian Metals) to secure the historic information.

During the time period in question there was no legal requirement to lodge drill/assay results as ‘exploration records’ on an existing Queensland Mining Lease, the company said.

Its inquiries brought out a wealth of information including field mapping campaign data sets, information memorandums, faxes and reports with production summaries.

In 1993, West Australian Metals completed a 27-hole RC drilling campaign at the Big One deposit which produced the standout assayed intercept of 3m at 12.25 per cent copper from 42m, with 2m at 17.87 per cent copper from 43m and 1m at 28.40 per cent from 44m. (More HERE)

Notably, in 1997, about 4400 tonnes of supergene ore was mined from the Big One deposit with an average achieved grade of about 3.5 per cent copper. The output was sold to a nearby heap leach operation at Mount Cuthbert.

Historic production records for Boomerang mine from 1944-74 verified that 4211.2 tonnes of oxide ore was mined, grading about 6 per cent copper.

Castillo Copper said more exploration work needed to be undertaken at the site to define the potential scale of the priority targets and the size of any underlying orebodies.
Stanmore Coal has released further details of its progress on the Isaac Downs project near Moranbah, as it assesses tenders for the civil works required.

The company is aiming for first coal in the first quarter of 2022 from the project, an open-cut metallurgical coal mine expected to produce about 35 million tonnes of coal over 16 years.

Stanmore has contracted Palaris Australia to manage the bankable feasibility study, which has commenced.

Civil contractors have tendered for a design and construct packages for the three major activities needed to establish the mine – bridgeworks for an underpass for the Peak Downs highway crossing, a haul road to link Isaac Downs with the existing Isaac Plains coal operations and construction of a flood protection levee.

Stanmore said submissions from four companies had been received in late December and were under evaluation.

Full steam ahead for Isaac Downs coal project
In its December quarterly report, Stanmore noted that an extra step had been added to the approval process for Isaac Downs since the introduction of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Act, requiring a formal assessment of rehabilitation costs.

But it remains on track for for a 2022 start to production.

The company has also made an application to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science and the Commonwealth to extend the area of disturbance approved for its Isaac Plains East mining lease.

This will allow access to an extra 8.2 million tonnes of coal resources.

Full steam ahead for Isaac Downs coal project
Run-of-mine coal production at Isaac Plains East hit 864,000 tonnes in the December quarter – the second highest quarter on record, with 609,000 tonnes of saleable coal.

The Isaac Plains complex is on track to achieve production guidance of 2.35Mt of saleable coal for the full year.

A new CAT6060 excavator was commissioned at the site in November (pictured above), with an expected overburden capacity of 11 million bcm per year.
Red River Resources is fast-tracking development of the Liontown project as its next mine at the Thalanga complex after ‘outstanding’ exploration results in 2019.

Speaking upon the release of December quarterly reports, managing director Mel Palancian said Liontown and Liontown East were proving to be a much bigger mineralised system than expected.

Red River last month reported high-grade gold and silver hits in the Liontown drilling campaign and it is working to update the mineral resource estimate for the New Queen Lens there to finalise preliminary mining studies.

The earliest Liontown would come online would be late this year, with timing depending on permitting, and Mr Palancian expects Red River to kick off gold production at its new Hillgrove asset in New South Wales first.

“The company’s focus is gold. We are super-keen to get gold into our production mix and to me Hillgrove is just a fantastic opportunity to quickly and cheaply get gold into the mix,” he said.

“…Liontown will be close second to Hillgrove, and it’s not that we’re not going to focus on Liontown – we’re going to push that as hard as we can as well, because that has huge flow-on benefits for Thalanga because we’ve got the excess mill capacity there.”

Red River has also revealed it is conducting a broad review of the gold potential of its tenements in the Charters Towers region, and Mr Palancian said preliminary work had shown great potential.

“The final report is not far away but there will be some news flow that comes out of that as well. There are some exciting things coming out of that,” he said.

The Thalanga operation, 65km south-west of Charterss Towers, is currently producing zinc, copper and lead from its Far West mine and West 45 mine.

West 45 is winding down, with production expected to come to a close within weeks.

Decline development is continuing for the new Far West underground mine, which is producing a combination of development and stope ore.

But poor ground conditions and productivity issues have delayed the ramp-up of operations at Far West, seeing the Thalanga site’s production rate drop to about 60,000 tonnes mined last quarter compared to 100,000 in the previous month.

Mr Palancian said mining contractor Pybar had addressed the productivity issues, and there was now a new leadership team in place.

“We’ve also changed our ground control standards during the quarter to address the ground conditions in the upper levels and, again, that’s made an impact and improved the stability of the ground,” he said.

Where they would normally bolt and mesh to the grade line, they had instead been bolting and meshing to the floor to protect the walls better as well as using straps in some areas.

The operation was encountering much better ground conditions as the Far West decline entered the lower levels, he said.

Liontown mine focus for Red River in 2020