NQ Minerals PLC (NEX:NQMI) Executive Director Roger Jackson caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the commencement of the flotation commissioning at their Hellyer mine in Tasmania and what’s next for the project.
Q1: Can you tell us more about the Hellyer mine and what NQ Minerals is aiming to achieve there?
A1: The Hellyer mine is actually a tailings dam processing project which will re-treat tailings through its existing flotation plant onsite in Tasmania. The material that we send up from this tailings dam is a polymetallic material, very high grade, and is made up of essentially gold, silver, lead and zinc. There’re over 10 million tonnes to re-treat through the plant over the next decade.
NQ essentially will be cleaning up an environmental legacy and making revenue of in excess of £800 million over that period.
Q2: So, what does today’s news mean for the project?
A2: It’s great news, it indicates we’re nearing the end of the refurbishment process and moving the project into the operational phase.
As per our schedule, we’ve been working to a budget that’s been put together by our management team back at the start of the year and we’ve met that target of starting commissioning in August and it means that we are now moving towards operations.
Further to this point, we’ve got a perfect safety record and we’ve had no lost time injuries over the 62,000 hours that’s been worked in this refurbishment project.
Q3: Can you tell us more about the expected concentrate to be shipped later in the year?
A3: So, this is a bit of a unique project in the sense that it is a very high-grade tailings dam project, it has a good mix of high value products in it, as I mentioned, gold, silver, lead and zinc, but further to that there’s a pyrite product.
We’re going to be producing three flotational concentrates, they are produced by sequential flow so the first one to be produced will be a gold/silver/lead product, the second product is a zinc concentrate and finally we’re making a pyrite concentrate. We’ll be treating a million tonnes put through the plant and we’ll be producing about 560,000 tonnes of concentrate which will be sent to the Burnie port, some 65 kilometres north of the plant in Tasmania.
Q4: What’s next for the project?
A4: NQ Minerals are going to move this project from a commissioning stage into a steady state production phase, we’ll gradually tweak everything, we’ll improve our efficiencies, and we’ll make the process more viable by increasing our grades and recovery. Certainly, we’re going to be looking for other opportunities within that region of North-West Tasmania and whilst we’re doing this, we’re making very very good cash. We’ve got some very exciting exploration projects up in North Queensland and with that cash, we can spend a bit of time and money looking further into those projects.