OZ backs SA bid to become copper giant

OZ Minerals has welcomed a plan by the South Australian government to triple the size of its copper industry.
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Prominent Hill

Kristie Batten

SA hosts major copper deposits, including OZ’s Prominent Hill mine and Carrapateena project, and BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam operation.

The government held a Copper Summit earlier this year to explore the opportunities, challenges and actions needed to raise the state’s copper output to support Australia becoming the world’s third largest copper producer, and has outlined a long-term plan via a directions paper.

“South Australia holds 68% of Australia’s known copper reserves, however we only produce 30% of the nation’s copper output,” OZ managing director and CEO Andrew Cole said.

“The state government’s plan to triple the size of the copper industry and make South Australia a copper mining powerhouse should be congratulated.

“The growth of the copper industry will generate huge economic benefits for South Australia and benefit local businesses, service providers, skilled workers as well as the wider community.”

The directions paper identified six focus areas: enhanced support to find and expand copper resources; improved production cost competitiveness; shared commercial research; social licence to operate; reducing bottlenecks across the value chain; and collaborative infrastructure development.

The SA Chamber of Mines and Energy welcomed the government's continued focus on realising the state's mineral wealth.

“Collaboration between industry and the SA Government will help return the prominence that copper once enjoyed in SA, where it was the backbone of our economy,” SACOME CEO Jason Kuchel said.

“The copper strategy rightly acknowledges that this state has massive potential for new copper discoveries, together with the further development potential of our known resources.

“Realising South Australia’s copper potential will reap big rewards for the entire state in terms of investment attraction and economic activity, and ultimately jobs, royalties, service sector opportunities and development of regional infrastructure and services.”

A workshop will be held in Adelaide on October 21 to consider the six focus areas and devise a formal strategy.