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News release: Friday 26 February 2016

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis
Minister for Finance, Minister for State Development, Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy 

The State Government today welcomed OZ Minerals’ announcement it will fast-track planning of its world-class Carrapateena copper mine in the State’s North.

Activity on the $770 million project, located about 160 kilometres north of Port Augusta, will ramp up from March this year.

The project could create up to 400 jobs during the construction phase and a further 400 operational jobs once it enters production in 2019.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said today’s decision by OZ Minerals was a vote of confidence in South Australia’s resources sector.

“While there is still work required before OZ Minerals will finalise their mining plans and apply for a mining lease, today’s decision is an important milestone for the world-class copper deposit,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“It has the potential to deliver significant jobs and investment in South Australia, in particular for the State’s North.

“The State Government also supports the focus being placed by OZ Minerals on maximising the social and economic value of the project for the local community, including a partnership with the Kokatha people.”

OZ Minerals’ decision follows this week’s launch of the State Government’s Copper Strategy which aims to triple South Australia’s annual copper production to 1 million tonnes – or $8 billion a year.

“Carrapateena alone has the potential to make a significant long-term contribution to our target of producing 1 million tonnes a year of copper here in South Australia,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“Today’s news that HydroMet is a key part of the preferred option underscores the importance of the $10 million investment by the State Government in a partnership with OZ Minerals to support research into improving the quality of copper-in-concentrate.

“This process has been incorporated into plans for the Carrapateena project and will also be available to other copper prospects in South Australia.”

The original drilling program that discovered Carrapateena was co-funded through South Australia’s world-renowned PACE (Plan for Accelerating Exploration) – a program introduced by the State Government to encourage mineral exploration and stimulate mining in South Australia.

Mr Koutsantonis said the recently announced $20 million PACE Copper initiative, which forms an important part of the Copper Strategy, will directly support exploration programs targeting similar deposits in South Australia’s Copper Belt.