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Mining activity has kicked off at Round Oak Minerals’ Barbara copper-gold project, about 60km north-east of Mount Isa. 

Chief executive officer Rob Cooper said the site establishment work had been carried out and contractors started waste stripping to in the pit in the last week of March.

SES Mining Solutions is providing the mining production workforce, with equipment supplied from Salmon Earthmoving.

“We have started mining about a month later than planned, due to the extreme weather event in January/February, which prevented access to site,” Mr Cooper said.

“The contractors have mobilised now and we’re up and running.”

The workforce was ramping up, with about 30 people on site this month, ramping up to around 50 over the next few months, he said.

Ore from the project will be processed at Glencore’s Mount Isa copper operations, with the first of those deliveries expected around September and the first 100,000-tonne parcel processed in October.

The site fared better in the recent North-West Queensland deluge than Round Oak’s Mt Colin copper project, between Mount Isa and Cloncurry.

At that site Barminco is developing a decline for underground mining,  with the portal located on an upper bench of the former open-cut mine.

The pit had been dewatered to the point where it held less than 10 megalitres of water before the monsoon event in January/February.

“That rain event put a lot more water back in the pit,” Mr Cooper said. “The volume of water at its peak went up to about 280-300 megalitres.”

Fortunately, a diversion drain completed just a week before the heavy rainfall had reduced the amount of floodwater entering the pit by up to 50 per cent, he said.

But the inundation has set back the mine development about two months.

Round Oak is also still continuing dewatering operations at one of its two pits at the Wallace South gold project, near Cloncurry.

“Production has been about 50 per cent of what we would normally get out of that mine,” Mr Cooper said.

However he said Round Oak had sufficient ore stockpiled to continue to feed its Cloncurry processing facilities.

Breaking ground at Barbara