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New Century Resources plans to release results this month from an expansion prefeasibility study for open-cut mining at its Lawn Hill site, 250km north-west of Mount Isa.

The company has been ramping up its operations at the Century mine site, where it is using hydraulic mining to recover zinc from tailings produced by previous mining and processing operations.

The expansion prefeasibility study being finalised is investigating the potential to mine in-situ mineral resources as well, extending the operation’s mine life beyond the 6.3 years expected through tailings retreatment alone.

“We intend to release the outcome by the end of the month,” head of corporate affairs Shane Goodwin said.

New Century Resources last year awarded Downer EDI and joint venture partner Waanyi a contract to provide mining services for the mining of East Fault Block and South Block Resources immediately adjacent to the exhausted Century open pit should that work go ahead.

It has also executed a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) with the Waanyi Registered Native Title Body Corporate (Waanyi PBC), providing Traditional Owner consent for the development of the South Block Mineral Resource.

The total JORC-compliant Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources for the in-situ deposits is 9.3Mt at 6.1 per cent inc, 4.7 per cent lead and 66g/t silver for 568,000t contained zinc, 433,000t contained lead and 19,850,000oz contained silver.

Should New Century go ahead and mine those resources, it will also have to refurbish the existing carbon and lead flotation circuits within the site’s processing plant, enabling production of separate zinc and lead concentrates as per historical operations.

Verdict near on new mine potential at Century site