Perth-based explorer Anax Metals (ASX: ANX) is proceeding with regulatory applications and infrastructure refurbishment at its 80%-owned Whim Creek copper-zinc project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The company has submitted a mining proposal and mine closure plan and is nearing completion of an updated scoping study while the definitive feasibility study is advancing.
The proposal seeks approval for Anax to commence operations via an expansion of an existing open pit at the Mons Cupri deposit and associated waste rock dumps.
It includes a refurbishment of an existing crushing circuit to process ore and installation of new ore sorters to produce high-grade copper and zinc pre-concentrates.
The sorters will allow for secondary sorting products to be separated and dispatched onto existing heap leach pads for bioleaching.
Final rejects will be used where appropriate as engineering fill ore aggregate product.
The mine proposal also seeks construction of a 120-room accommodation village plus upgrades to the processing plant and refurbishment of support facilities.
Since completing the Whim Creek transaction last November, Anax and contracted site manager PPM Global have completed site works centred around repairing and upgrading existing infrastructure to meet current licencing standards.
The works address the requirements of an Environmental Protection Notice (EPN) issued in 2019 by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to the former owners of the project.
A state-of-the-art weather station has also been installed on-site to enable remote monitoring of atmospheric conditions on a continuous basis.
Accurate and timely records of temperature and rainfall are necessary when complying with management plans in place under the EPN.
Anax recently completed the construction of a 60,000 cubic metre environmental pond lined with high density polyethylene (HDPE), which will be integrated into the project’s process solution and storm water management system.
It will help ensure the project infrastructure will have sufficient capacity to contain run-off generated by a 1-in-20-year, 72-hour rainfall event, and increases the site’s containment capacity.
Extensive new storm water bunding has also been established to divert storm water run-off away from the processing facility and environmental pond, thereby preserving containment capacity of the infrastructure.
The project’s on-site accommodation camp has been upgraded to house up to 15 people.
A new kitchen and mess facility was built to cater for an influx of additional staff and contractors associated with the current round of civil works.
The construction was facilitated by the short-term hire of caravans which were brought to site and plumbed into existing infrastructure.
Anax managing director Geoff Laing said the company is focused on advancing the project to commence copper production in 2023.
“Submission of the mining proposal has been a major step forward and our key contractors have achieved a great result with the ongoing site upgrade works,” he said.
“Most of the remediation work required under the EPN has now been completed and we look forward to delivering [our] feasibility study incorporating the leverage benefits delivered through the Anax development strategy.”