Image: Capricorn Copper: Increased Asset Value through O&M services

Minerals & Metals2 min read

Capricorn Copper: Increased Asset Value through O&M services

Gunpowder, Australia
Capricorn Copper Pty Ltd
2018 - 2024

The Capricorn Copper Mine is located in Gunpowder, Australia and has a rich history dating back to the first discovery of mineralization in 1882.

In 2016, under new ownership, Restart Execution Studies (RES) were performed to confirm the business case and to define the optimal plans and strategies to recommence operations. In November 2017, following a successful Refurbishment and Restart Program, copper concentrate was produced. Involved in the RES as well as the engineering and project management for the execution of the refurbishment and recommissioning works, Ausenco gained an intimate knowledge of the mine operations and helped develop a clear strategy to improve production. In late 2018, Ausenco commenced management of the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of the concentrator and surface infrastructure. Our team of around 80 personnel are tasked with improving the plant performance. To-date, the O&M team has implemented the following:

  • Our continuous improvement process to prevent reoccurrences of unplanned downtime events
  • A collaborative team culture focussed on challenging existing norms to increase efficiency
  • Structured planning forums to prioritise critical issues and review performance
  • Regular comprehensive reviews of plant performance by our technical experts which resulted in changes to the mill operating strategy and plant configuration
  • A detailed metallurgical program designed by Ausenco technical experts investigating options to depress pyrite and improve copper concentrate grade and recovery

Our achievements in the first six months include: A significant increase in the assets underlying profit margins through incremental and sustainable improvement in plant performance.

  • 30% increasein plant throughput rate
  • 9% increasein plant runtime (or reliability)
  • 7% increasein copper concentrate (product) grade
  • 9% increasein copper recovery

We achieved these results while decreasing the recordable injury frequency rate by 55%.

By taking on complete responsibility for the asset, we have been able to make timely decisions and efficiently implement our approach to optimisation, resulting in performance transformation without any significant capital expenditure.