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Red River Resources has submitted the Environmental Authority for its gold-rich polymetallic Liontown project as it works towards a 2022 start to mining there.

The project is located about 32km in a direct line from the main Thalanga operations, about 65km south-west of Charters Towers, where Red River restarted mining and processing operations in 2017.

Red River expects to develop a combined open pit and underground development with a conceptual mine life of more than 10 years.

In a company update this week, it said it had submitted the EA for the project and was progressing it as quickly as possible, with plans for mining to commence next year.

Red River has installed and is commissioning a Falcon gravity gold recovery circuit at Thalanga to increase recovery of gold, particularly when it commences mining at Liontown.

The Liontown project has a polymetallic sulphide mineral resource that stands at 4.1Mt at 0.6 per cent copper, 1.9 per cent lead, 5.9 per cent zinc, 1.1 g/t gold and 29 g/t silver.

It also hosts and a shallow oxide gold mineral resource of 113,000 tonnes grading at 1.9g/t gold and 24 g/t silver.

Red River also reported that less ore had been milled at Thalanga in the past quarter than usual due to increased ground control requirements at the Far West underground mine, particularly cable bolting and shotcrete.

“Red River’s mining contractor Pybar has committed to providing additional resources at Far West to minimise the impact,” the company stated.

“Red River expects normal production rates will resume in Q3 FY2022, after the company achieved record quarterly copper concentrate production of 4,411 tonnes at Thalanga, as well as solid increases in production of zinc and lead concentrates in Q1 FY2022.”

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Red River loses appeal in royalty dispute

Meanwhile the company has lost an appeal in its royalty dispute with Vedanta Resources subsidiary Thalanga Copper Mines.

The proceedings related to a liability it inherited when it acquired the Thalanga project in 2014.

Red River said the judgement sum was about $20 million, payable within 28 days, and it had already placed $10 million in a trust account (from existing cash), with the Board to determine how it would finance the remainder from existing resources.

Red River maintains an undrawn $US15 million debt facility with Trafigura which may be used for this purpose.
Pre-qualified contractors are being invited to tender to build the $1.065 billion Rockhampton Ring Road project.

It is biggest infrastructure project to be delivered in the region, with the development expected to create more than 780 jobs.

Due to its size and complexity, the project will be delivered in two packages.

“Tendering will be a multi-stage process and will see Transport and Main Roads collaborate with potential proponents to ensure the best outcomes for the project and community,” Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey.

“It is expected the successful contractors will be appointed in mid to late 2022.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the start of the tendering process signalled construction was firmly on the horizon.

“After almost four years of planning and design, the Rockhampton Ring Road is one step closer with construction tendering under way,” he said.

“Investing in this key infrastructure project will support the region’s economy by improving freight efficiency, flood resilience and the capacity of the Bruce Highway, as well as improving road safety.

“This project will also connect to completed local infrastructure projects, including the Yeppen North and Yeppen South projects, Capricorn Highway Rockhampton to Gracemere Duplication and the Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade, as well as supporting jobs and regional communities.”

“It is expected the successful contractors will be appointed in mid to late 2022.”

Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said the project’s sheer scale was expected to offer up challenges in its delivery.

“This project will deliver 17.4km of new road, including 6km of bridges, to be built through the Fitzroy River floodplain,” Mr O’Rourke said.

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“Construction contractors will need to manage multiple connections with other highways, local roads and private properties, as well as ensuring connectivity to the city of Rockhampton.”
Laneway Resources believes it is beginning ‘a new chapter’ at Agate Creek after a study pointing to Kidston-style Intrusion Related Gold System (IRGS) potential.

The 12-month multi-element study at Agate Creek had unlocked the geological model of the region, the company said.

Planning is well advanced for a multi-stage drill program to confirm interpreted IRGS potential in the area.

“We are very excited by the results of the multi-element study, which has been a year in the making with input from some of the best independent geological experts in the country,” Laneway managing director Brad Gordon said.

“Without exaggeration it has transformed our understanding of the geology at Agate Creek and the scale potential of our ground in the region.

“What had historically been considered an epithermal deposit at Sherwood is now looking increasingly like an IRGS system.

“Such deposits are generally recognised to offer larger scale potential and are characterised by multi-million ounce endowments.

“Whilst we already have a JORC Mineral Resource of close to half a million ounces at Agate Creek we might just be on the cusp of something much larger.

“In our opinion we are likely at the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Laneway Resources with a new geological model underpinning our thinking.”

Laneway Resources is currently undertaking a 12-week mining campaign at its Agate Creek gold mine, with Advance Civil Earthworks as contractor.

The campaign is targeting a high-grade parcel of 35,000t of ore from the high-grade Sherwood pit, expected to yield about 5,500 ounces of gold.

In the longer term, Laneway is continuing to appraise and evaluate the broader mineralisation potential at Agate Creek and progress the development of large-scale activities including on-site processing.

The 12-month multi-element study study involved two parallel investigations, Metal Zonation Analysis and an Elemental/Alteration Geochemical Analysis of the mineralisation styles observed within the Agate Creek project.

Both investigations concluded the Agate Creek Deposit had indicators with similarities to an IRGS.

Laneway said rhyolites at Agate Creek had magmatic characteristics with strongly reduced and highly fractionated chemistry, similar to the magmatic chemistry observed for intrusions at documented IRGS deposits such as Kidston (5moz), Woolgar (2moz), and Mount Wright (1.5moz).

All pulp samples stored on site at Agate Creek from historical drilling completed by seven companies including Laneway dating back to 1993 were utilised in this study.

Mr Gordon said the study had yielded a wealth of drill targets to confirm the IRGS hypothesis, which Laneway intended to follow up straight away, starting with ‘along strike’ and deeper extensions to the known Sherwood high-grade mineralisation in the rhyolites.

“Drilling will continue into 2022 with the large gravity low south-esat of Agate Creek a particularly tantalising prospect,” he said.

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Townsville City Council has released three new tenders for its $45 million project to duplicate the pipeline between the Ross River Dam and the Douglas Water Treatment plant.

The tenders released are:

  • construction package 1 – construction of around 1.14km of 1290mm diameter pipeline from the Ross River Dam outlet on Riverway Drive across Ross River to the Mount Stuart Training Area.
  • construction package 2 – construction of around 8.2km of 1290mm diameter pipeline through the Mount Stuart Training Area and connection to Douglas Water Treatment Plant.
  • contract administration and inspection and verification services.

Construction and commissioning of the duplicate pipeline should be completed by the end of next year.

Mayor Jenny Hill said using local contractors, suppliers and consultants as much as possible was council’s goal.

“Council has broken the construction of the pipeline into two smaller packages of work, which will give smaller, local companies an opportunity to participate and grow,” Cr Hill said.

“We used the same approach with the first stage of the Haughton Pipeline project and the local companies engaged delivered the project on-time and on-budget and I know they can do it again.

“By using locals as much as possible, we can ensure projects like this provide an economic boost to the community, grow the capacity of the companies as well as enhanced water security.”

Currently, around 85 percent of Townsville’s water supply is derived from the 9km 1,220mm-diameter concrete pipeline between the dam and the treatment plant.

The existing pipeline runs adjacent to Riverway Drive and crosses Ross River just prior to the treatment plant. It experienced an unexpected failure in December 2020, resulting in a temporary disruption to water supply.

The duplicate pipeline will cross Ross River closer to the dam and run parallel to the river through the Department of Defence’s Mount Stuart Training Area before connecting to the Douglas Water Treatment Plant.

“Council will invest $177 million in water infrastructure and services this financial year,” Cr Hill said.

“The duplication of this pipeline will provide redundancy to the existing pipeline thereby enhancing Townsville’s water security.”

Companies interested in lodging a tender should visit the council’s tenders webpage.

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Leading Australian gold producer Evolution Mining is buying 100 percent of one of Glencore’s world class assets.

Evolution already owns the gold and parts of other assets produced at the Ernest Henry copper, gold and silver mine located 38km north-east of Cloncurry.

It’s now securing itself access to a major copper producer coming into an era when copper demand to supply the new economy will be at a premium.

They’ll be paying $1 billion in two tranches; $800 million upfront when the transaction is complete on 6 January 2022 and $200 million 12 months later.

Evolution has advised that no funding is required to complete the transaction.

They’d had their eye on the complete package for some time said Evolution chief executive Jake Klein.

“We have long coveted to own Ernest Henry,” Mr Klein said. 

“It is a world-class asset in Australia and one which we know extremely well due to our successful investment in the asset in 2016 and proud that it will once again be 100 percent Australian owned. 

“The acquisition is consistent with our strategy, materially improves the quality of our portfolio and delivers both strong cash flow and mine life extension opportunities. 

"The site management team have an outstanding track record of operational delivery and we are delighted they will be joining Evolution and look forward to working with them to make this an even better operation. 

"We are also pleased to be continuing our strong relationship with Glencore and that the product will continue to be treated in the local region at their Mount Isa smelter and Townsville refinery.” 


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Queensland coal mines should be the last to go as the world pushes towards decarbonisation, says the Queensland Resources Council.

In the wake of the COP26 climate forum in Glasgow, the state’s peak mining body said Queensland coal producers were willing and able to meet the challenges of modern-day mining and would be operating for decades to come.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said having a superior, in-demand product backed by an industry already embracing renewable energy in its operations and heavily investing in low emissions technology would ensure the long-term future of the sector.

Long road to lower-emissions future

“Queensland coal mines should be the last coal mines closed in the world because it’s the best quality coal there is, and that goes for our thermal and metallurgical coal,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The world needs Queensland coal more than ever to support the transition to a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future.

“Right now, steel can only be produced commercially by using metallurgical coal, and thermal coal is the only 100 per cent reliable way to produce energy.

“This will change as fast as the technology will allow and our industry will evolve accordingly, but the road to a lower emissions future is a long one that needs to be managed in an orderly and logical way.

“No-one wants to be without power and without the products that support our everyday existence.”

Mr Macfarlane said the QRC supported the Minerals Council of Australia’s ambition for resources sector to achieve net zero by 2050, and he had every confidence this would be achieved.

Following the conclusion of the COP26 on November 13, Wood Mackenzie analysts described the conference as a qualified success.

“The big splash was the announcement of India’s net zero goal, by 2070. Although met indifferently from many quarters, we think it is a big deal,” global head of markets and transitions Jonny Sultoon said.

The bone of contention was the variation between near-term 2030 reductions, and net zero pledges in the 2050-70 window.

“While the US, UK, EU-27, Japan, and South Korea aim to nearly halve emissions by 2030, growing economies such as China and India do not have such a reduction target for 2030,” Mr Sultoon said.

China and India insisted the wording of the final text was amended to ‘phase down’ rather than ‘phase out’ coal-fired power.   

Wood Mackenzie Asia Pacific head of markets and transitions Prakash Sarma said the last-minute changes reflected current realities for individual energy markets, where countries aimed to prioritise supply security over environmental goals.

This was at least through the medium term until other clean baseload supply options were commercially available at the scale that was needed to replace coal in power generation.  

Abatement pathways include retiring inefficient plants, co-firing low carbon fuels such as ammonia or hydrogen and retrofitting CCS.

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