Chinova’s Current Prospects
As of December 2022, Chinova had the resource authority holdings in the Cloncurry region of northwest Queensland comprising 32 granted Mining Leases (MLs) with an area of 109.8 km, held by its 100% owned subsidiaries Chinova Resources Cloncurry Mines Pty Ltd (24 MLs) and Chinova Resources Osborne Pty Ltd (8 MLs). Chinova’s exploration holdings comprised 23 granted Exploration Permits for Minerals (EPMs) including joint ventures for a total area of 2709 km².
The Mount Dore Heap Leach Project has previously been considered as Chinova’s next project. However, the relatively low copper grade, lack of gold credits in the primary ore body combined with relatively low copper prices throughout the 2010s caused a development hiatus for this project.
A number of mining feasibility and pit optimisations at Mt Dore indicate the potential for two adjacent pits with a relatively large mining inventory, with one study in 2014 by an external mining consultant, quoting shell 30 as having an inventory of 19Mt 0.9% Cu above a cut-off grade of 0.5% copper. In 2020, the opportunity to improve the cost structure of the project was achieved when Chinova signed a Connection and Access Term Sheet – Foundation Customer with the CopperString project. Further enhancements in engineering were underway in early 2020, with preliminary engagement of a design institute from China with experience in delivering copper heap leach projects. The arrival of COVID-19 brought stringent border restrictions on international travel, which has resulted in these works being suspended.
The Mount Dore Project will target copper oxide ore, which is not ideally suited to the Osborne Processing Plant. A heap leach operation, including a Solvent Extraction and Electrowinning (SXEW) plant will be constructed at Mount Dore. Mount Dore is within 5km of Starra, and alongside Merlin. All these projects will share infrastructure. As a result of the works being suspended, Chinova has decided to tie the commencement of the Mount Dore Project with the availability of cost-effective and reliable power offered by the CopperString Project which will connect the North-West Mineral Provence of Qld with the National Electricity Market.