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Specialist underground contractor Pybar Mining Services has settled into the next phase of work at Mount Isa Mines’ Black Rock Cave, where a third sub-level came into production last month.

The company has secured the production contract to mine Black Rock Cave, following on from a development contract, and is expected to employ up to 60 personnel on site at peak production.

Glencore Queensland Metals general manager − Isa Mining Simon Pope said Pybar was well placed to mine the Black Rock Cave orebody.

“Through building the development levels and mine infrastructure, I’m sure they’ve learned many important lessons firsthand about the how the ground is responding to mining which will help guide them moving forward,” he said.

Pybar on a roll with Black Rock Cave

“Black Rock is using sub-level caving methods to extract ore, which helps us to understand how we can use this mining method in other orebodies with similar ground conditions.”

Since first production in mid-2020, two sub-levels have come into full production, with the third started in May 2021.

The commencement of production at Black Rock Cave had required some changes to the surface footprint of the site, Mr Pope said.

“We’ve needed to clear some surface areas around the old Black Rock open-cut pit to allow a subsidence zone for the sub-level caving method being used,” he said.

“A multi-disciplined team has been working on the demolition of some redundant structures and several Mount Isa Mines work groups have been relocated to other parts of the lease.”

Black Rock Cave will provide additional ore into the Mount Isa Copper Operations profile, in parallel with existing mining activities, to 2023.