Proposals to relaunch operations at a lead mine in Western Australia have been opened for public comment.
Paroo Station, the world’s largest lead carbonate mine, was placed into care and maintenance on 16 January 2015 amid what owner Rosslyn Hill Mining said were “difficult market conditions” because of depressed lead prices.
However, Rosslyn’s parent company LeadFX has now applied for state environmental approval to build a 70,000 tonne a year downstream processing plant at the mine, 750km northeast of the state capital Perth, using a hydrometallurgical process that would produce solid 99.99% lead ingots.
According to documents filed with the Environmental Protection Authority, LeadFX wants to restart Paroo and build a new refinery on site.
Ingots produced at the site would be exported through the port of Fremantle, near Perth.
LeadFX reportedly said the plans would extend the life of the mine from 4.5 years to more than a decade— gaining a premium for its products and avoiding high smelting costs charged by overseas processors.