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R3D Resources has appointed a plant manager to guide the refurbishment and restart of the copper sulphate plant at its Tartana site near Chillagoe in North Queensland.

The company believes it has identified existing copper mineralisation on the Tartana mining leases and at the nearby Cardross copper/gold project that have the potential to provide future feed to the copper sulphate plant.

It expects initial cost estimates and schedule for the refurbishment to be completed in two to three weeks after announcing the appointment of Mathew Hancock as the plant manager.

The Tartana mining leases produced high-quality copper sulphate for about a decade under previous owners from the mining of shallow copper oxide ore.

The ore was stacked on heap leach pads and the copper dissolved using sulphuric acid before recovery using a solvent extraction process and crystallising the copper in the form of copper sulphate pentahydrate.

The copper sulphate was bagged and sold as a premium product into the stock feed industry and as an activator in base metal or gold mining operations.

The project was placed on care and maintenance in 2014.

R3D described Mr Hancock as mineral processing professional with experience at Newmont Tanami Operations from 2014 to 2018, with the latter years as processing co-ordinator before moving to Dover Castle Minerals to become assets and operations manager.

Prior to working with Newmont, he held roles with JKO Mining in Georgetown and the Birla Mt Gordon copper mine.

The role within R3D Resources is to primarily manage the refurbishment of the heap leach-solvent extraction-crystallisation plant at the Tartana mine site.

This will progress to managing the restart of copper sulphate production to provide a key cash flow business for the company.

Mr Hancock’s role will include liaise with marketing groups to assess offtake opportunities and identifying and recruiting a competent workforce to implement the restart of operations.

News of his appointment comes days after R3D announced positive results from drilling on the Tartana mining leases that was designed to test major targets outside the copper mineralised zone occurring in the pit area.

“Mat has a demonstratable ability to move the project forward given a high level of initiative and self-motivation,” R3D managing director Steve Bartrop said.

“While the copper sulphate project is separate to the recent drilling results indicating significant sulphide intersections at depth (announced 21 October 2021), the copper sulphate project nevertheless is an important for the company offering potential future cash flow.”