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Aerial Drone of NSS @ Work

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Copper Resources Australia is on track to kick off mining at the Rocklands copper operation in North-West Queensland this month.

The company said it had already produced the first copper concentrate from stockpiled material at the previously mothballed mine after work throughout this year to redesign and commission the site’s crushing and flotation plants.

General manager for people and business support Sarah Barter said it was building up to a workforce of 175 by the end of the year.

The bulk of the 100-plus recruits to date were drawn from the Cloncurry, Mount Isa, Townsville and Cairns regions, she said.

Copper Resources Australia took over the troubled site in December 2020, more than two years after operations were suspended under former owner CuDeco, which went into liquidation in May 2020.

The company comes under the Mount Cuthbert Group, which also runs the Mount Cuthbert mine (previously known as the Leichhardt project).

It expects to invest $52 million into the Rocklands operation, 17km west of Cloncurry, in 2021 and $95 million in 2022.

Chief executive officer Stewart Robinson said the significant investment in the site had ensured substantial economic benefits to Cloncurry and North-West Queensland.

This included local employment, local business development either through direct supply or indirectly, civil and infrastructure improvements.

“The objective for the Rocklands site is to change and improve on the previous CuDeco operations and management strategies, through low debt, efficiencies, reducing operational and management costs,” Mr Robinson said.

“CRA is fully aware of the challenges that are before us so that we can deliver the very best in outcomes for the shareholders, investors and at the same time enhancing the liveability and economic viability of the Cloncurry shire and North-West Queensland.”