Australia-Prominent Hill Mine

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Prominent Hill Mine
Prominent hill 2008-2010.jpg
Prominent Hill open pit from September 2008 to September 2010
Prominent Hill Mine is located in Australia
Prominent Hill Mine
Prominent Hill Mine
Location in Australia
LocationCoober Pedy
StateSouth Australia
Coordinates29°43′10″S 135°35′00″E / 29.71944°S 135.58333°E / -29.71944; 135.58333Coordinates: 29°43′10″S 135°35′00″E / 29.71944°S 135.58333°E / -29.71944; 135.58333
ProductionCopper: 60,145 tonnes
Gold: 90,821 ounces
Silver: 361,767 ounces
Financial year2009-10 [1]
CompanyOZ Minerals
WebsiteOZ Minerals website

The Prominent Hill Mine is a major copper, silver, and gold mine in north west South Australia, 130 km south-east of Coober Pedy, which has been developed by Oxiana Limited, later to become OZ Minerals. The deposit is an iron oxide copper gold style mineralisation.

The mine has cost A$1.15 billion to develop,[2] and it is projected to produce 100,000 tonnes of copper and 115,000 oz of gold in concentrates a year. As of 2018, the mine life is expected to extend to 2030.[3]:page 18


Oxiana Limited decided to develop the mine in August 2006, having first got involved in the project in 2003 and having bought its partner, Minotaur Exploration Limited in 2005.[4]

The mine went into production in February 2009.[5] The mine was opened in May 2009 by South Australian Premier Mike Rann.[6] The development included an open-pit mine, a conventional grinding and flotation processing plant, a permanent village to accommodate the workforce and construction of a haulage road, power line and bore field. There are two underground mines accessed through the open pit.[3]:Pages 8, 12[7] The Malu mine extends vertically below the bottom of the open pit. The Ankata mine opened in 2012 and is about 2 km west of the main mine. Ankata means dragon lizard in a local indigenous language.[8] It is accessed from a decline portal in the pit wall to access a deposit removed from the main one.

Resources of the deposit are 152.8 Mt at 1.18% Cu, 0.48 g/t Au and 2.92 g/t Ag plus 38.3 Mt at 1.17 g/t Au of non-sulfide ore.[9]

In contrast to the Olympic Dam deposit, an iron oxide copper gold deposit of similar age about 200 km to the southeast of Prominent Hill, uranium values do not exceed 150 ppm and therefore uranium recovery is not economical.[citation needed]

The mine was part of the sale of its assets by OZ Minerals to Minmetals Australia Pty Ltd but was blocked by the Australian Government, citing national security concerns. Wayne Swan, Treasurer of Australia, stated that Prominent Hill could not be included in the sale as it was within a sensitive military area and the sale of the other OZ Minerals mines only went ahead after Prominent Hill was excluded.[10]

Copper/gold concentrate product from Prominent Hill is shipped to customers via the Adelaide–Darwin railway, which passes within 116 km of the mine, to Port Adelaide.[4]

Geology and mineralogy

Chalcopyrite in hematised breccia from Prominent Hill

The deposit is located in the Gawler Craton and it is hosted mainly in a fault zone where Hiltaba-Suite granites overthrust a Mesoproterozoic volcano-sedimentary sequence. The age of the mineralisation is about 1.58 billion years. It consists of a breccia containing host rock clasts (dolomite, sandstone, andesite) which is intensively hematite, chlorite and sericite altered. Major sulfide minerals are pyrite, chalcopyrite, bornite and chalcocite.[11]


  • The Australian Mines Handbook: 2003-2004 Edition, Louthean Media Pty Ltd, Editor: Ross Louthean


  1. ^ Quarterly Report Presentation - June 2010 OZ Minerals ASX announcement, 16 July 2010. Accessed 31 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Construction costs rise for Australian miner". International Herald Tribune. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Investor Site Visit" (PDF). OZ Minerals. 14–15 November 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  4. ^ a b Prominent Hill OZ Minerals website. Accessed 12 January 2010.
  5. ^ First production from Prominent Hill copper-gold operation OZ Minerals ASX announcement, 26 February 2009. Accessed 12 January 2010.
  6. ^ Prominent Hill open for business Christopher Russell, The Advertiser, 25 May 2009. Accessed 13 September 2014.
  7. ^ 2018 Prominent Hill Mine Plan Animation. OZ Minerals. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  8. ^ England, Cameron (17 August 2012). "OZ Minerals opens underground Ankata mine in South Australia's Far North". The Advertiser. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  9. ^ "PIRSA - Prominent Hill". Retrieved 23 April 2009.
  10. ^ Australia Blocks China’s Purchase of Mining Company The New York Times, 27 March 2009. Accessed 11 January 2010.
  11. ^ Belperio, A., Flint, R., Freeman, H. (2007). "Prominent Hill: A Hematite-Dominated, Iron Oxide Copper-Gold System". Economic Geology. 102: 1499–1510. doi:10.2113/gsecongeo.102.8.1499.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

External links