How far is Boddington from Perth?
Boddington is a gold and copper mine situated 120 kilometres south-east of Perth, near the town of Boddington in Western Australia.
What do they mine at Boddington?
With an estimated 11.2 million ounces in proven and probable reserves, Boddington is ranked as Australia’s largest and the world’s seventh largest gold mine. The mine directly employs around 2,000 people, with an on-site camp capacity of 2,300.
While China accounts for the largest gold production of any nation (totalling around 13% of
global outputs), the Australian gold sector has been enjoying rapid expansion. In 2019,
Australian mines produced 325 tonnes of gold to eclipse the previously largest return of 317
tonnes, for the highest ever gold yield recorded for the country. Boddington was responsible
for 703,000 ounces (approximately 20 tonnes) in the same year. While predominantly known
as a gold mining operation, Boddington also produced 64 million pounds of copper in 2019.
The operation centres around open-cut mining from two main pits (north and south) in the
Saddleback Greenstone Belt. It utilises the conventional truck-and-shovel method and has
capacity to mine around 235,000tonnes of material per day. The main zone of gold
mineralisation is concentrated over a strike length of approximately five kilometres in length
and one kilometre in width. While not a single zone of gold and copper mineralisation, it is
essentially a complex mineral district of reserves.
Once material is extracted, ore processing begins with capacity at Boddington being
approximately 35 million tonnes per annum. Primary, secondary and tertiary crushing
occurs, followed by ball milling and hydro -cyclone classification to generate a milled
product. Ground ore is then floated to generate a gold-rich copper concentrate for further
filtration and then sale to international smelters. Further gold is then recovered via a leaching
process applied to flotation tailings.
Open pit operations at Boddington officially commenced in 1987, with a focus on extracting
the shallow oxide ores to a depth of around 70 metres. Mining operations ceased in 2001
when the known reserves of oxide ore had been processed and the site was placed into care
and maintenance. In 2009, Newmont Corporation acquired 100% interest in Boddington and
the mine was reopened, following a large-scale expansion to increase the mine’s capacity.
The Australian Government provided approvals for further expansion in 2012, effectively
adding 29 hectares to the site to enable storage dams and water collection facilities to be
developed. This infrastructure was considered pivotal to Newmont’s long-term strategy to
extend the mine life of Boddington to through to 2040.
Newmont recently announced investment of approximately $227 million to automate
Boddington’s haul truck fleet. The project is earmarked to be operational by 2021 and would
see Boddington become the world’s first open pit gold mine utilising an autonomous haulage
system (AHS). This project is projected to both extend the mine life by two years and
enhance safety and productivity. A program of reskilling and redeployment is being
undertaken to support the roles affected by the AHS implementation.
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