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Oz Minerals' plan 'great news for Whyalla'


Oz Minerals’ proposal to build a $150 million concentrate treatment plant in Whyalla is “great news” for the embattled region, says State Treasurer and Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis.

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The company today announced plans to expand its Carrapateena copper and gold mining project at a cost of $975 million, with the aim of producing copper concentrate by 2019.

It also said it had signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with the administrators of troubled steelmaker Arrium to explore possible site, infrastructure and port options for a concentrate treatment plant project at Whyalla.

The plant would offer “cheaper access to skilled labour, port, rail, roads, power, water, gas and oxygen”, Oz Minerals said in an ASX release.

Koutsantonis said the State Government had invited the company to apply for major project status for the plant.

He hailed Oz Minerals’ advancement of its expansion of the Carrapateena mine as proof of the value of the government’s investment in new technology developed by the company to improve copper yields.

The Minister also congratulated the company on looking to base the treatment plant in Whyalla, “a town that has expertise, a town that has know-how, and a town that right now is in need of assistance”.

“This development will create 100 jobs in construction and 100 jobs ongoing.”

Arrium lead administrator Mark Mentha also welcomed the MoU, describing the proposed plant as “a wonderful opportunity for the town” and “a significant event for the Whyalla community”.

The MoU relates to Oz Minerals completing an engineering design study to consider using Arrium subsidiary OneSteel’s property in Whyalla for the establishment of the plant.

Mentha said the project, if completed, would provide revenue for OneSteel through a sale or lease of land and payments for the use of infrastructure.

“It is also a vote of confidence in the town of Whyalla. It will create jobs and lift confidence.”

Andrew Cole, managing director and CEO of Oz Minerals, said a centralised concentrate treatment plant would provide “further options for Prominent Hill concentrate and other mines in Australia and possibly around the world”.

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