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Plan to boost Potosi

Wednesday, 9th April, 2014

Perilya’s general manager of Broken Hill Operations, David Hume, is optimistic about the future of the company’s Potosi Mine. Perilya’s general manager of Broken Hill Operations, David Hume, is optimistic about the future of the company’s Potosi Mine.

By By Erica Visser

Perilya plans to increase production to full licence capacity at its Potosi mine over the coming months and is seeking permission to put more trucks on the city’s streets. 

Trial production started at Potosi just over a year ago under a licence that allowed it to produce a maximum of 30,000 tonnes a month.

Perilya’s general manager of Broken Hill Operations, David Hume, said that around 25,000 tonnes of mineral was being produced at the site each month.

During the day, three truckloads per hour travel from Potosi to the company’s Southern Operations on the designated haulage route through the city’s streets. 

“We’re working towards increasing the amount to 30,000 tonnes per month in the next two to three months,” Mr Hume said.

“Given the positive results we have had since we recommenced mining at Potosi, we are evaluating the option of further increasing the production rate beyond 30,000 tonnes. 

“However, the haulage conditions in the development approval that was received in 2012 limits us effectively to producing a maximum of 30,000 tonnes.”

Mr Hume said that if it was successful in amending its licence, it would take eight to 12 months to build up production levels to 40,000 tonnes a month.

“We’d obviously need to invest some further money in increasing the development rate and the mine’s production capacity,” he said.

“But we will also need approval to increase the rate of haulage from the mine to our treatment plant.”

Mr Hume said that it was hoped Potosi could make up for declining production at Southern operations, which has a lifespan of five to eight years. 

“We are optimistic about the future of Potosi. It has the capacity to replace production that is dropping off at the Southern operations mine.

“We have seen a reduction in average production rates at Southern operations, and Potosi is playing an important role in replacing that.

“With today’s prices and today’s costs, Southern operations would not be viable without the additional production at Potosi.

“We see Potosi as critical in maintaining the viability of local operations.”

The Roads and Maritime Services, with City Council, is reviewing Perilya’s proposal to increase the number of trucks on the city’s streets.

One requirement could be increased lighting on the Barrier Highway at the intersection of the Potosi access road.

“One of the ammendments we have asked Council to consider is allowing us to run trucks until 7pm at night year-round”, Mr Hume said.

“This would mean in winter time that trucks would be operating in darkness.”

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