Coda sees viable Elizabeth Creek copper-cobalt operation

Coda Minerals’ mining study on its Elizabeth Creek copper-cobalt project in South Australia’s Olympic province has defined a pathway towards rapid development of open pit mining and provided a solution to the challenging underground deposit (reports MiningNews).

Pathway

The scoping-level mining study suggests that by developing pits at the satellite MG14 and Windabout deposits Coda can establish a 2.5 million tonne per annum operation just two years after taking a final investment decision.

The pits would deliver the bulk of the early ore, allowing the Emmie Bluff underground to progressively become the sole source of ore in year seven.

Mine life is expected to be 17 years, leaving plenty of time to prove up the emerging Emmie Bluff Deep iron oxide copper-gold discovery, which is about 800m below the surface.

Coda CEO Chris Stevens described the mining study as a "key breakthrough" proving that the development has no technical barriers.

"The flat-lying geometry and narrow nature of the lodes at Emmie Bluff make it a more challenging proposition from a mechanised hard rock mining point of view than some Australian mineral deposits, which tend to have a greater vertical dimension," he explained.

"However, this style of mineralisation is commonly mined in Africa and Europe, and we are pleased to have now demonstrated a suitable mining method with strong throughput at reasonable mining costs."

The optimal mining method selected for Emmie Bluff is using flat, long-hole open stoping with pillars.

Emmie Bluff sits about 400m below the surface and is expected to deliver 26Mt grading 1.85% copper equivalent from the underground, supplemented in the early years by 1.3Mt at 1.42% copper and 371 parts per million cobalt at MG14 and 6Mt at 1.03% copper and 667ppm cobalt at Windabout.

Together, the three deposits contain around 1.1Mt of contained copper equivalent.

Stevens said work over the next few months would examine ways to optimise the mine, considering both alternative mining methods and the ability to bring forward early production rates.

It is also looking at improving metallurgical processes, as recent work using the Albion Process recovered in excess of 99% of the copper, cobalt, and zinc from Emmie Bluff in the lab, better than the original pressure oxidation tests.

Coda will deliver the full scoping study in February 2023.

A resource for the nearby Cattlegrid South deposit is also pending.

Coda started the quarter with $8 million cash, following a recent $3.85 million placement at 24c.

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