Glencore’s Ernest Henry Mining operation has celebrated a year of achievements following its recent transition from an open pit to an underground shaft mine.

Chief Mining Officer, Matt O’Neill, was pleased to report on the operation’s significant progress since the transition, which involved the installation of extensive dewatering infrastructure.

“We would like to thank our people, who have been integral to transforming Ernest Henry Mining over the past five years and securing its bright future,” Mr O’Neill said.

“The focus now is to continue strengthening our business by improving efficiency and identifying synergies to further increase our production rate.”

The $589 million project transitioned the mine, located near Cloncurry in north-west Queensland, from an open pit to an underground operation and added at least 14 years of life to the site.

The operation is currently ramping up copper production to 6 million tonnes a year in 2015 and will double annual metal production to 50,000 tonnes of copper and 70,000 ounces of gold concentrate over an extended mine life to 2026.

The underground project commenced in December 2009 and MIPAC became involved in the project in March 2011.

“MIPAC worked on the underground mine infrastructure including the central networks station, operator control room, the engineering control room and substation automation,” said Ashish Mahajan, MIPAC project manager.

“Next we focused on underground dewatering, automating five pump stations.”

“Lastly, we worked on all crushing, handling and conveying works. We automated the crusher and conveying system to the loading station, from there to the hoisting shaft, and from the hoisting shaft to the overland conveyor.”

Chief Processing Officer Richard Harvey told the community that as a major mining operation in the region, Ernest Henry Mining has been able to support smaller regional mines by processing their ore at our onsite concentrator.

“This has the mutual benefit of providing an important value-add service to other local industry players, while utilising the full capacity of our infrastructure and raising our production profile,” Mr Harvey said.

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