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Mine History

Mining in the Kanmantoo district has made a significant contribution to the development and prosperity of the state of South Australia since the 1840's. The first mining at Kanmantoo began in 1846 and continued until 1874, followed by a hiatus due to a combination of scarcity of ore, falling copper price and lack of wood for smelting. Intermittent prospecting continued in the area until the late 1960s when exploration led to the discovery of the main deposit at Kanmantoo and commencement of open pit mining in 1970 by Kanmantoo Mines Limited (KML), a joint venture between Broken Hill South 51%, North Broken Hill 19.5%, Electolytic Zinc Company 19.5% and P.G. Hallof of Canada 10%.

KML Ltd operated the mine from 1970-1976. During that time, approximately 20 million tonnes of waste and 4.05 million tonnes at 0.9% Cu was mined producing 39,000 tonnes of copper metal. Underground mining was also planned at the deposit and a decline from the side of the pit had been completed which provided access for production drilling. However, these plans were abandoned with no modern underground production reported from the deposit. A more detailed history can be found in the attached paper, The Kanmantoo-Strathalbyn mineral field, South Australia: the 'Cornwall of the Colony' by Ross A. Both.

The mine had operated for six years before closing due to a dramatic fall in copper prices. Remnant mining infrastructure included an open pit (approximately 120 metres deep), former processing plant buildings (currently owned by Neutrog and used as a fertiliser manufacturing facility), a partially revegetated waste rock dump and a small tailings storage facility (which remains separate from current operations).

Hillgrove at Kanmantoo

In April 2004 Hillgrove exercised the option to acquire Mining Lease 5776 (excluding oxide ore stockpiles and tailings) which covered the former Kanmantoo Mine workings.

In November 2003 Hillgrove acquired a 40% interest in EL 2663 and the right to earn a further 50% by funding exploration activities on the tenement before May 2004. The final 10% interest was acquired from Kelaray Pty. Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Argonaut Resources NL, in March 2008. This exploration license covers an area of 496km2 along strike to the north and south of the Kanmantoo Mine and has since been reissued by the department of Primary Industries and Resources SA (PIRSA) as EL3277 and is currently listed as EL4401.

Field exploration activities commenced with first drilling in February 2004. In December of that year Hillgrove announced an Indicated and Inferred Resource of 18.37 million tonnes at 1.1% Cu and 0.2g/t Au calculated by Resource Evaluations Pty. Ltd. for the Kanmantoo Project. This Resource estimate more than doubled the previous estimate of 8.45 million tonnes. The Resource has steadily increased since then with the total Resource now standing at 29.5 million tonnes (2.6MT Measured, 21.8MT Indicated and 5.0MT Inferred) at 0.8% copper, 0.20g/t gold and 2.11g/t of silver.

A Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) was finalised in June 2006 by Roche Mining (JR) Pty Ltd, which identified a potential open pit containing 12.2 million tonnes of ore. A subsequent Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) was undertaken by Lycopodium Pty Ltd and completed in November 2007. The mining feasibility studies for the DFS were completed by Snowden, and a detailed geotechnical study was completed by Coffey Mining Pty Ltd. With the DFS successfully completed the Board gave the 'green light' to continue seeking government licensing and arrange project finance.

The Mineral Lease Proposal (MLP) was prepared in consultation with the local residents committee, the KCCCC.  The MLP’s public consultation period resulted in submissions by interested parties which were reviewed by PIRSA and once all aspects were agreed the Mineral Lease was granted in October 2008.

Preparation of the Mining and Rehabilitation Plan (MARP) then followed which was ultimately approved in April 2010.  Submissions from the community, government, Hillgrove and other interested parties were combined to make up the final MARP document.  Among the contents is a description of the natural, social and economic environment; details of ore reserves, mining operations and supporting infrastructure; a description of the social, economic and environmental benefits; results of stakeholder consultation; management of environmental, social and economic aspects; and a mine closure and completion plan. 

Hillgrove acquired the Western Australian Lennard Shelf Project's Pillara processing plant and associated buildings in late 2009, with items excess to our requirements sold. This key purchase afforded time and cost savings which significantly reduced the projects capital expenditure and construction time line.  Abesque Engineering was commissioned to dismantle, transport and ultimately reconstruct the plant at Kanmantoo over a two year period through to November 2011.

The Kanmantoo processing plant was commissioned in November 2011.  It was configured to be a 2.4Mt p.a. open cut mine to support an initial mine life of 6.5 years.  Icreaseses in the Resource and iprovements to the crusher circuit in 2013 saw an increase in throughput to over 2.8Mt p.a. and now supports a 10 year mine life. The project is expected to produce approximately 80,000 tonnes of concentrate per annum, containing about 20,000 tonnes of copper metal and 10,000 ounces of gold.



Projected to operate as a ten year open-cut mine with throughput of over 3.0Mt pa, producing approximately 100,000t of concentrate, containing about 20,000t of copper metal and associated gold per annum with exploration potential for further copper-gold mineralisation.


We are mindful that we are operating in and around local landowners and communities and it is our greatest wish to see all benefit from our presence.