Oz Minerals' Carrapateena mine

02 Feb 2021

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (15:35): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on the OZ Minerals Carrapateena mine?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:35): Thank you to the member for Flinders, who is always interested in affairs in regional South Australia, particularly absolutely outstanding projects like the Carrapateena mine. The very exciting news is that the Carrapateena mine is being very seriously considered for expansion.

Just this week, less than one year after opening the mine, OZ Minerals have committed to a significant expansion of the Carrapateena copper mine. This milestone is on top of the mine ramp-up and processing mill, achieving nameplate capacity six months ahead of schedule. I congratulate the exceptional work of the OZ Minerals team on their achievements and the announcement to proceed with the Carrapateena block cave expansion development.

The decision to expand operations so quickly is a testament to the quality of Carrapateena resource and the OZ Minerals team. The block cave expansion significantly increases the Carrapateena throughput and will increase the production rate from 4.25 million tonnes per year to 12 million tonnes per year—think about that: 4.25 million tonnes a year up to 12 million tonnes per year—and extend the life of the mine out to 25 years.

These are absolutely outstanding benefits, not only for the shareholders of course but, more importantly from all our perspectives, for all South Australians, for our economy and of course for people in the Upper Spencer Gulf and other parts of South Australia. From an employment perspective, this is a fantastic outcome for South Australia's newest mine and will further expand the employment opportunities for South Australians, especially those in our regions and Upper Spencer Gulf area.

OZ's decision again demonstrates South Australia's pedigree as a tier 1 world-class copper mining jurisdiction. The Marshall government recognises the importance of these significant mining projects for the prosperity of South Australia, in terms of employment, investment in our local businesses and royalties. As I have said in this place many times, and it bears repeating, the royalties are approximately $300 million per year, which the resources industry brings into our state and into our government. Those royalties contribute to roads, to hospitals, to nurses, to policing, to schools, to disability services, to an enormously wide range of services which South Australians all benefit from.

We continue to invest in the discovery of new mineral deposits for the benefit of all South Australians through the Accelerated Discovery Initiative; Mineral Exploration CRC; ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge; and the tireless work of the South Australian Geological Survey. Let me just extend that to people throughout the Department for Energy and Mining, who are very focused on supporting this industry for the benefit of South Australians.

We know that not only the local economy, when a mine is brought into production, benefits very significantly, but we know that our whole state does. I have talked about employment. I have talked about the benefit of royalties to funding very important services. There are direct jobs and there are indirect jobs. It's not unusual at all for the direct jobs to be highly valued, but there are three or four times as many indirect jobs related to that operation supporting South Australia.

I commend OZ Minerals—a fantastic South Australian company. They are doing an absolutely outstanding job extending the life of the Prominent Hill mine south of Coober Pedy, reaching nameplate capacity at their brand-new mine at Carrapateena, 170 kilometres north of Port Augusta, within six months. They are now embarking on trying to expand that, a massive expansion that all of us in South Australia and, I know, OZ Minerals will do for the community and with the very best environment protections in place.