Lady Loretta back on the agenda
Buka managing director John Richards told MiningNews.net the strong zinc...
JOINT venture partners Falconbridge and Buka Minerals have dusted the cobwebs off the Lady Loretta zinc project in Queensland, initiating feasibility studies with a view to start producing from 2009.
Buka managing director John Richards told MiningNews.net the strong zinc market had spurred the joint venture partners into action but remained tight lipped when quizzed about costs and possible production scenarios."I've been told by my joint venture partner that we're not allowed to answer questions like that," Richards said.However, a feasibility study completed in 2001 by Noranda Pacific, a subsidiary of Falconbridge, indicated a 1 million tonne per annum mine and concentrator would cost $200 million to develop.Lady Loretta contains a resource of 13.6Mt grading 17.1% zinc, 5.9% lead and 97gpt silver, with potential production pitched at 125,000t per annum of zinc metal in concentrate, as well as 50,000tpa of lead and 850,000oz of silver during a 12 year mine life.Buka said Falconbridge had completed a gap analysis on the work conducted in 2000/01 to identify key areas that would require review or update prior to initiating a full feasibility.Buka said the analysis did not pick up any major deficiencies but did identify areas of the project which need to be reviewed and updated including, the geological block model, mining plan and reserve estimate; the financial model; permitting processes; and, process optimisation.MiningNews.net understands feasibility work will take around 12 months to complete with a development decision expected by early 2007."The zinc market until about twelve months ago didn't look very good, and it now it look good, and it looks good for some years to come," Richards said. "The market is better and its time to bring this forward."Lady Loretta is located around 140km north of Mt Isa with Buka holding a 25% stake and Falconbridge holding a 75% stake.