The Unley-based miner today announced a “significant milestone”, with the first production of copper concentrate secured from its new underground mine at Kanmantoo, 55km from Adelaide.
It represents a restart of copper mining at the site, which previously hosted a series of Hillgrove-operated open cut pits, producing 137,000 tonnes of copper and 55,000 ounces of gold between 2010 and 2020.
The company commenced development of an underground mine at Kanmantoo in mid-2023, and production started earlier this year.
Hillgrove said it expected the first revenues and sales of the copper concentrate to be received this week, with the company’s CEO and managing director Lachlan Wallace heralding today’s announcement as a “watershed moment” for the company.
“Over the next few months, the mine output and copper production are expected to ramp up as the planned additional work areas are established underground,” Wallace said.
“Completing this transition from explorer to producer makes Hillgrove Resources one of only a few copper producers on the ASX, and doing so in eight months highlights the company’s capability to deliver on stated objectives.
“Operations will be bedded down at Kanmantoo as we ramp up to steady stage production, and our attention will turn to growing the business by converting future exploration and development opportunities.”
Wallace added that the project would “take advantage of the anticipated growth in demand for copper as the world continues to decarbonise through development”, with Hillgrove capitalising on this trend alongside mining giant BHP which last year acquired South Australian copper producer OZ Minerals.
“To leverage our position as a copper producer into the future, we are actively seek [sic] to grow both the mine life and the annual copper production profile through exploration, starting with our substantial 60-100 million tonne exploration target within in [sic] close proximity to the underutilised processing plant, including the recently discovered Kanmantoo Deeps target,” Wallace said.
The new underground mine will have a four-year life cycle according to Hillgrove, which plans to further develop the site beyond that period.