Red River recruits Pybar to restart Thalanga zinc project
The project, which was placed into care and maintenance in 2012, consists of the West 45 portal which will be the main focus of the underground mining contract with Pybar.
So, what is the Thalanga Zinc project?
Located west of Charters Towers in Central Queensland, the site was disicovered in 1975 by Pennaroya Australia Pty Ltd, with constrction and development of the project completed in 1989 – and thus, commercial production began.
Thalanga consists of West 45, Far West, and Orient deposits.
Pybara will work specifically on the West 45 deposit, which Thalanga Mill mined around 2,000 tonnes of development ore prior to West 45 being placed on care & maintenance in March 2012. The decline is partially flooded, and services (power and ventilation) were stripped out during the administration period.
The project is expected to produce 21,4000 tonnes of zinc, 3600 tonnes of copper, 5000 tonnes of lead, 2000 ounces of gold and 370,0000 of silver in concentrate over an initial five-year mine life.
Red River has awarded the West 45 underground mining contract to PYBAR Mining Services
PYBAR will begin to mobilise to site within the next 2 weeks and expect to commence underground mining operations at West 45 shortly thereafter.
PYBAR Mining Services
PYBAR Mining Services (PYBAR) are an Australian based and owned underground mining contractor with a long track record in metalliferous underground mining contracts within Australia, and have an outstanding reputation in terms of safety, execution and quality.
Pybar had previously been contracted to work with Glencore for its CSA copper mine in New South Wales. Pybar successfully supported the mine development and intensive ground support regimes, load and haul of development waste to stope fill areas, and loading of development ore into client trucks as required.
The company provided all labour, equipment and materials for the supply, delivery and application of the shotcrete.
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British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars
The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change.
It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.
British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad.
Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe
After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company.
“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”
Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector.
Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial.
Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production
“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”
The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction.
Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably.
“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.
“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”
Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK.
“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”
Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.