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MINE OF THE MONTH – BODDINGTON

New beginning
Minimising the environmental impact is a high
priority of the Boddington expansion project

At the start of March, the partners in the Boddington


project in Western Australia gave the go-ahead for an
operation costing US$1.5 billion

T
Boddington Gold Mine, PO Box 48
HE development decision at Boddington just over 11.6 Moz and 480,000 t of copper. Newmont Boddington WA 6390
follows the acquisition in mid-February anticipates a copper recovery of 83%. There are Tel: +61 (0)8 9883 8260
by Newmont Mining Corp of the 22.22% additional resources of 144 Mt measured and indi- Fax: +61 (0)8 9883 4208
share in Boddington Gold Mine (BGM) held cated, at 0.58 g/t Au and 0.08% Cu.
by Newcrest Mining Ltd for A$225 million Under the management of Worsley Alumina had meanwhile acquired original owner Normandy
(US$1=A$1.36). This lifted the US company’s equity to (which operates the nearby Worsley bauxite mine), Mining) in late 2002. Newmont recently took over
66.7% (South African-based AngloGold Ashanti Ltd the overlying oxide mineralisation at Boddington was project management.
holds the remaining 33.3% of Boddington). The mine exploited from 1987 until the end of 2001. Product- Announcing the go-ahead, Wayne Murdy,
and processing plant are expected to take two years ion in 2001 totalled 234,000 oz. The project was taken Newmont’s chief executive, said: “We believe the
to construct. over by AngloGold, Newcrest and Newmont (which exploration opportunities at Boddington hold the
The operation, which lies potential to ultimately double reserves.”
130 km southeast of Perth, will
be based on an update to a five- GEOLOGY
year-old feasibility study that was Over the past few years, BGM’s exploration efforts
presented to the joint-venture have focused on identifying all remaining oxide ore
partners last December. The mine for the current milling facility and resource develop-
is expected to produce 1 Moz/y ment for the Boddington expansion project. Mining
over the first five years of opera- operations ceased at the end of November 2001,
tions, with an overall average after all known economic oxide gold resources had
over the 15-year-plus mine life been processed. However, exploration has success-
of 850,000 oz/y. The life-of-mine fully identified a 19.6 Moz gold bedrock resource, the
operating cost is put at US$210/ basis of the expansion project.
oz, net of by-product credits. The Boddington mine lies within the Saddleback
The expansion project will Greenstone Belt (SGB), a fault-bounded sliver of
exploit basement rock from Archaean volcanic and shallow level intrusive
underneath the existing oxide pit. rocks, surrounded by granitic
The initial mine plan is based on proven and prob- and gneissic rocks. The
able reserves totalling 403 Mt, at an average grade of Darwin SGB has produced over
0.90 g/t Au and 0.12% Cu, for contained reserves of Newmont 6 Moz of gold and is
Tanami operations
a highly prospective
ORIGINAL PROJECT exploration area
Tanami
Construction of the original operation at Yandal Pajingo for further gold
Boddington was managed by Hatch in a Northern mineralisation in
Territory
project which began in October 1986 and was Western both large-tonnage
completed in July 1989. The orebody was mined Australia AUSTRALIA stock-work gold resourc-
by open-pit methods, with a 3 Mt/y throughput es and high-grade
for an expected mine life of 15 years. The water Brisbane lode-type gold
requirements were met by a dam built on Thirty- Kalgoorie resources.
four Mile Brook, supplemented by water pumped BGM owners are
from the Hotham River. Perth committed to a continuing
The extraction process involved primary and Canberra Sydney exploration presence in the
Adelaide
secondary crushing, ball milling, carbon-in-leach Super Pit area and have substantial
extraction, elution of the loaded carbon, elec- Boddington Melbourne tenement holdings avail-
trowinning of gold, then smelting and casting as able, including that
bullion. Tasmania 0 800km managed on behalf
of the BGM-Alcoa

10 Mining Magazine May 2006

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ENVIRONMENT
One of the objectives of the project has been to not being tied up by the copper in the process, and monitoring procedures will remain in place
minimise the environmental impact. the total cyanide usage for the increased throughout the life of this project.
■ Transport: Trucks will be used to carry supplies project size is only half that of what would ■ Noise: Disturbances from mining and process-
from Perth to the mine via the Albany Highway, have been required under the original project ing will increase from previous levels. However,
while others will transport copper concentrate to a design. Additionally, the new project design modelling shows that noise limits will be beneath
port for shipping. A number of options for transport includes a cyanide destruction process which the regulatory level of 35 dB(A) at the nearest
of concentrate for shipping are being considered, effectively decreases the cyanide concentrations residences. This is a conservative estimate based on
including truck delivery to Bunbury Port via Dwell- to negligible levels. worst-case scenarios.
ingup or Arthur River & Collie, or to Kwinana Port via ■ Vegetation: In the past, the spread of dieback ■ Rehabilitation: Consideration is being given for
Albany Hwy. and other weeds has been minimal due to the the mine to be rehabilitated to a range of land uses,
■ Cyanide: Under the new project parameters, stringent forest hygiene procedures in place. to the extent they are practicable. This will need
total cyanide usage will be greatly reduced as a Dieback mapping is conducted every three years considerable investigation from both a technical
consequence of the earlier removal of copper from and no increase in dieback affected areas, other and community perspective and will form a com-
the mineral-extraction process. Since cyanide is than natural spread, has been noted. The hygiene ponent of the upcoming consultation discussions.

Manual cleandown at Boddington gold mine.


Left: signs restrict vehicle movement
in infected areas

joint venture covering the greenstone


belt immediately north of the BGM
mine. An approved exploration pro-
gramme is in progress during the care
and maintenance period with an an-
nual budget of about US$2.5 million.
Exploration activities are now
focusing on the poorly-explored areas
of the greenstone belt outside the EXPANSION PROJECT
already-identified Boddington expansion resource. The Boddington project relates to the large-scale
The exploration strategy is to identify the resource mining and processing of basement rock from under
potential of the rest of the greenstone belt, with the the existing oxide pits. These investigations began
emphasis on high-grade lode-type deposits. in 1995 and an interim report was tabled in 2000. An
updated feasibility study was completed at the end
of last year.
The expansion includes the construction of a new
processing plant, which will include a three-stage
ore-crushing process, single-stage ball mill grinding
and a copper/gold flotation method followed by gold
leaching of the flotation residue by the carbon-in-
leach (CIL) process. Mining will take place from two
open pits at a rate of more than 80 Mt/y, and a milling
rate of about 35 Mt/y.
A joint venture between Aka Kvaerner and
Clough Murray Roberts has won the engineering,
procurement and construction management (EPCM)
contract, and initial equipment orders have already
The expansion includes the construction of a new been placed. This contract, worth A$115 million, was
processing plant signed on April 10.

May 2006 Mining Magazine 11

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