“By approaching opportunities with a fresh set of eyes, using innovative approaches to tap into the rich seam of past knowledge, and introducing new practices and technologies, we believe that we can unlock the considerable latent value at Broken Hill.” Paul Arndt - Managing Director & CEO
In 2010 Perilya achieved a significant milestone - its first eight years of successful operation of its Broken Hill Mine. The company has brought a new lease of life to the historic Broken Hill mine since acquiring it in June 2002, increasing production and extending its life to more than six years based on existing reserves.
During these eight years, Perilya Broken Hill mined approximately 15 million tonnes of ore and shipped over 800,000 tonnes of zinc metal and 450,000 tonnes of lead.
Further increasing ore reserves and extending the mine life at Broken Hill to beyond 10 years are important cornerstones in the company’s strategy for sustainable growth.
The Broken Hill ore body is "world class", having produced more than 200 million tonnes of ore over the 120 years since mining commenced in 1885. This long history in mining has endowed Perilya with well developed infrastructure that has the capacity and flexibility to operate at higher volumes and with a range of ore sources.
Despite Broken Hill’s long history, many areas still remain relatively under explored – creating new and exciting opportunities for Perilya.
Perilya now manages 1,042 square kilometres of prospective terrain which includes the mine leases, incorporating the Southern Operations, the North Mine, and the Potosi Trend, and the historic Little Broken Hill and Pinnacles areas.
The Broken Hill operation produces two products, a zinc concentrate and a lead concentrate. Concentrates from Broken Hill are a premium coarse-grained product, being of low complexity and containing a grade of about 50 per cent zinc in the zinc concentrate and 70 per cent lead in the lead concentrate.
Perilya has introduced significant changes and improvements in the operations at Broken Hill. An underground equipment replacement program has resulted in improved productivity, while the concentrator was simplified to improve recoveries and concentrate quality.
Mining is principally conducted using a longhole open stope method with variations developed for extraction of the secondary resource located in the previously worked pillars area.
Longhole stoping currently accounts for 70 per cent of underground production, with pillar extraction and development ore contributing approximately 30 per cent of the total. The ventilation system comprises ten ventilation shafts with three surface exhaust fans and one surface intake fan.
The proprietary techniques and operating approaches developed through operating a large, complex remnant mine not only enables Perilya to extract full value from Broken Hill, but also provides a competitive advantage for developing other challenging ore bodies.
Perilya is fortunate to be part of a skilled and experienced mining community that is supportive and has a strong sense of identity. The company has an experienced and settled residential workforce, one that blends younger professional and technical expertise with mature Broken Hill mining experience - a workforce that is committed and eager to embrace new ideas and technologies.
Perilya aims to increase production and improve margins at the Broken Hill mine, one of the largest historic base metal mines in the world. Development of the North Mine, the Potosi decline and Flying Doctor deposit (subject to feasibility) will provide additional ore streams to fill spare concentrator capacity. In addition, promising near mine exploration has the potential to create further development opportunities in the Broken Hill region.