Cyprium starts Nifty plant refurb

COPPER developer Cyprium Metals has begun refurbishing a processing plant at the Nifty project, in Western Australia, with a restart of the mine now expected by mid-to-late 2023.
Cyprium starts Nifty plant refurb Cyprium starts Nifty plant refurb Cyprium starts Nifty plant refurb Cyprium starts Nifty plant refurb Cyprium starts Nifty plant refurb

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Energy & Commodities

Paul Hunt

The Nifty copper mine is located on the western edge of the Great Sandy Desert in the northeast Pilbara region and was acquired by Cyprium in March this year.

Nifty had produced 714,000 tonnes of copper before being shuttered, however, it still has a resource of more than 732,000t including 135,000t that is heap leachable.

Since taking control of the mine, Cyprium conducted several studies and confirmed it would look to produce copper plate via a solvent extraction and electrowinning plant.

An engineering report and cost estimate found refurbishment would be more cost-effective than purchasing or building another SX-EW plant.

"We have started refurbishment of the project," Cyprium managing director Barry Cahill said.

"The Cyprium team continues to kick goals on its way to producing copper metal plate at Nifty."

The SX-EW plant is being stripped down and assessed for refurbishment on an item-by-item basis.

The items not up to scratch are being transported to Perth or Kalgoorlie, or even interstate, for specialist refurbishment.

The EW electric rectiformer has been shipped to New South Wales for repairs.

While refurbishing is officially underway, Cyprium also told shareholders this month it had encountered challenges due to labour shortages, COVID-19 related impacts and long lead-times.

"Despite our best efforts and the exceptional progress that we have made in eight months, there are pressures being felt throughout the mining industry," Cahill said.

"These additional pressures … have impacted on our original projections."

This means the mine's restart and first copper plate production will be pushed back to the second half of 2023.

Cyprium said many of its permit applications for the restart had been submitted to relevant departments.