Capricorn Copper is committed to sustainable operations. A key deliverable of the Refurbishment and Restart Project (RRP) is to establish the infrastructure required to achieve the desired environmental performance and establish a reputation as a trusted and respected high quality miner.

Copper has been mined from two open pits and one underground operation at the site since 1927. Over that period, various processing techniques have been applied at the site including heap leaching, flotation, in-situ leaching and pressure oxidation. Most of the mining activity and development work that underpinned previous operations predate modern environmental technology and approaches. This has left the site with several priorities that Capricorn Copper will address throughout the RRP and various operational remediation projects.

Capricorn Copper Mine’s environmental focus is the management and control of water onsite. There are several priorities that drive the site’s environmental management strategy and plans. These include:

  • limiting the amount of water entering site
  • preventing the contamination of water falling directly onto site and directing the clean water offsite
  • capturing and cost effectively treating water that falls directly onto contaminating surfaces and consuming treated water in operations
  • management of surfaces with potential to contaminate water
  • the long term conservation of water.

During operations, remediation and rehabilitation works will focus on the treatment of contaminated water held in the Esperanza Pit and the lime sludge contained in the Mill Creek Dam. Both contain recoverable copper.

As part of the Restart Executions Studies (RES), remediation projects were developed with a view to offset costs via recovery of copper. Based on the test results, the following modifications are included in the scope of the RRP:

  • modification of the existing water treatment infrastructure to neutralise and recover copper from the Esperanza pit water for use as process water (reduction in requirement for fresh water consumption)
  • upgrading of the water treatment circuit to allow the processing of the Mill Creek Dam sludge and recovery of copper
  • reduction of accumulated pit water through the installation of four high capacity evaporators and consumption of treated pit water in operations

The infrastructure refurbishments and upgrades included in the RRP will provide the platform to return the site to a sustainable operational status and to support continued improvements in the site’s environmental performance.