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CUD Australia’s new

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DECO force in copper


From discovery to development, Australian mining company CuDeco has transformed itself into Australia’s new force in copper. The launch in late 2016 of its Rocklands Copper Mine near Cloncurry, Northwest Queensland is seen as the start of a new era for the emerging company as it taps into potentially electrifying growth in copper demand thanks to the electric vehicle revolution. A decade after its discovery, the Rocklands mine was officially opened in October 2016 in the presence of dignitaries from government and other key stakeholders as they celebrated the new investment and jobs created for the region. The past year has seen the Brisbane-based miner achieve a number of milestones at its flagship project, including the first production of sulphide copper concentrates and the first deliveries of native copper and sulphide concentrates to the Port of Townsville for export to China. The company also recommenced mining operations in March 2017 following the appointment of an external mining contractor. Following record production at Rocklands for the month of November 2017, newly appointed CEO Gongyang Jiang, at the company’s annual general meeting, announced plans to ensure the Rocklands processing plant achieves consistent

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Resource Global Network nameplate production of 3 million tonnes per annum. “The installation of two new C400 cone crushers will help improve reliability and plant uptime, while a new gravity circuit bypass will also lower operating costs. These initiatives, coupled with enhanced copper grades from the pit, will boost operational performance at our mine,” Jiang says. “We are also examining the commissioning of the cobalt/pyrite circuit at Rocklands following the recent surge in cobalt prices, which have doubled over the past year.” Jiang notes that the company had achieved positive cash flows from operating activities of around AUS$10 million during fiscal 2017, a figure that will substantially improve as production hits target. Achieving those targets is a priority of the company’s newly installed leadership team, which aims to instil a culture of continuous improvement across the organisation. In addition to Jiang’s promotion from chief operating officer to chief executive officer, the company confirmed mining executive Peter Hutchison as chairman, while also naming a new general manager for Rocklands, Adam Norton. “The board is confident in Jiang’s ability to drive ongoing improvement, while I am also pleased to move forward in the role of chairman, a move which will provide further stability to the company’s operational


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and corporate governance frameworks,”

in September, with CuDeco acting as a gold

Hutchison said.

sponsor of the ‘C150’ events.

“Mr Norton also is an important addition

“CuDeco may be a relative newcomer to

to our team, and his wealth of experience

Cloncurry, but we are all building our own

including in the Cloncurry region will be

piece of history at our mine,” says the CEO.

vital in ensuring Rocklands delivers on its potential.”

Looking ahead, Queensland’s newest copper producer sees a range of options in

With a workforce of more than 330 at the

extending the life of its Rocklands mine to

end of June 2017, Rocklands is an important

ensure its long-term sustainability.

contributor to the regional economy, particularly due to CuDeco’s focus on local

“We see the potential to leverage off our

employment rather than ‘fly-in, fly-out’

processing plant, which is a world-class


facility, so the company can extend its production lifespan through exploration

The company’s commitment to community

success, developing existing and new ore

engagement was shown in its support of

bodies and also looking at potentially

Cloncurry’s 150th anniversary celebrations

acquiring other mining companies,” Jiang said.


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He said the processing plant had the ability

electrified transportation and energy storage.

to be configured for different metals and minerals, making it attractive to nearby

A report by the International Copper

mining operations as an outsourced

Association (ICA) pointed to a nine-fold rise

processing plant.

in copper demand over the coming decade, aided by the growth of electric vehicles. The

In September 2017, CuDeco broadened its

number of electric or hybrid cars and buses

sales relationships by entering into a copper

is expected to reach 27 million by 2027, up

concentrate sales agreement with Japanese

from just 3 million in 2017.

trading house Mitsui, adding to its existing offtake agreement with China Oceanwide.

Rising copper demand is also predicted from energy storage, since every kilowatt-hour of a

The mine’s proximity to growing Asian

lithium-ion battery uses 1.1 to 1.2 kilograms

markets has placed it in an enviable position

of copper. Over time, this could result in an

amid an improving outlook for the red metal.

additional 600 kilotonnes of copper demand

In 2017, copper prices hit six-year highs amid

by 2027, according to the ICA.

expectations of an emerging supply deficit, thanks to an improving global economy and

Cobalt is another winner since it is a key

demand from emerging sectors such as

component in the production of lithium-ion



Gongyang Jiang, CEO

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batteries used in electric vehicles, along with

One of a rare number of explorers that

mobile phones and laptops.

have successfully moved from discovery through to development, CuDeco is confident

“CuDeco has the right assets in the right part

of an exciting future for its key asset as it

of the world, and we are targeting the right

capitalises on changing global technologies

commodities,” Jiang proclaims.

and the increasing demand from fast-growing Asia.

“As the ‘new force in copper,’ we have significant potential to grow our business

For a town with a rich mining heritage, the

further and we are focused on driving our

future appears bright for one of Cloncurry’s

business forward in 2018 and beyond.”

newest miners.

b a j


Published by Anderson Murray Media Ltd

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RGN | CuDeco  

Australia's new force in copper

RGN | CuDeco  

Australia's new force in copper