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Mine to open soon

Saturday, 14th March, 2015

By Craig Brealey

In less than a fortnight, the first shovel of dirt should be lifted from the new open cut pit north of the city.

The Portia mine holds an estimated 50,000 ounces of gold, along with copper, cobalt and other minerals and is being established by Havilah Resources and Broken Hill company, Consolidated Mining and Civil (CMC).

About 50 workers are expected to be employed on the mine which is about 120 kilometres northwest of the city in South Australia.

While the life of the open cut is estimated at no more than two years, once it is finished Havilah intends to move on to a much larger deposit about 30km south of Portia on Kalkaroo station.

Havilah bought the former sheep station for $2.1 million and has calculated that the deposit holds two million ounces of gold and 620,000 tonnes of copper. 

But for the moment, jobs are being generated by the Radford family and their company CMC which has been building roads to Portia and preparing it for mining.

“Things are definitely moving along but there’s still more work to do,” Dr Chris Giles, Havilah’s Managing Director, told the BDT yesterday.

“Steve Radford is getting his gear together and taking it out to dig the pit. He should be striking the first blow on about the 23rd of March,” Dr Giles said.

“By-passes have to be built to get all the heavy machinery out there because it is too big to fit on the roads and go through the gates and over the grids.

“You have got to cut the fences, build gates, built it all up... but it’s getting there.” 

Dr Giles said the pipes and pumps to extract the water from the pit had been laid and the top soil, or “overburden”, was being dug up and stockpiled so that it can be used for rehabilitating the site when the mine is worked out. 

And there was more to that than just taking it away and dumping it in a heap, he said. The stockpile has to be no more than two or three metres high. 

“If it is too high, the seeds can’t germinate so there is bit of ground being taken up just to stack it.

“There are just so many on-site preparatory things to do.”

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