About Chinova Resources

History of Chinova Resources

Chinova Resources Pty Ltd (Chinova) is a private company, 100% owned by Shanxi Donghui Energy Group Co Ltd (previously named, Shanxi Donghui Coal Coking & Chemicals Group Co Ltd).

In December 2013 Shanxi Donghui acquired the Ivanhoe Australia Limited group of companies which owned the mining operations at Osborne and Starra 276, including infrastructure at Mount Dore Camp and Merlin plus the associated Osborne and Selwyn resource authority holdings. Following the acquisition, the group adopted the ‘Chinova’ name. Chinova operates from the Osborne Mine site, 190km south east of Mt Isa and 150km south of Cloncurry in Western Queensland. A small exploration base is maintained at the Merlin Mine facilities 55km north of Osborne. Collectively these are referred to as the Chinova Cloncurry Project.

The Cloncurry Project area has been the subject of exploration and mining activities by numerous companies for over 100 years. Historic mining at Mt Elliott occurred from 1906 to 1919 by Mount Elliott Limited. The now abandoned Selwyn township serviced the mining and smelting activities on site.

Open cut mining of oxide gold deposits was commenced along the Starra Line in 1988 by Armico Mining Pty Ltd and subsequently underground mining produced copper / gold concentrate from sulphide ore. Arimco developed the modern underground mine at Mt Elliott commencing in 1993, ore was hauled 20km to the Selwyn Processing Plant located near the Starra mines. These operations closed in 1999 and were then acquired by Selwyn Mines Limited in 2000. In 2003 Selwyn Mines went into receivership due to sustained low metal prices.

From start-up in 1988 to closure in 2003, production totalling 12.9 million tonnes averaging 3.10g/t Au and 2.38% Cu was extracted from Starra and Mt Elliott mines producing approximately 217,700 tonnes of copper and 1.02 million ounces of gold.

The Selwyn Processing Plant treated 11.4M tonnes @ 2.09%Cu, 3.22/tAu from open pits and underground mines at Starra, Mount Elliott, Victoria and Lady Ella. The plant operated from 1988 to 2003 and has since been dismantled and the site rehabilitated. The remaining ore mined in the Selwyn area was treated by heap leach methods or remains in low-grade stockpiles.

Ivanhoe Australia Limited (IAL) acquired Selwyn’s tenements in late 2003 and commenced exploration. As part of this acquisition, IAL obtained an extensive and valuable database of technical information relating to the mining exploration and drilling undertaken by the previous project owners.

Since 2004, the company undertook extensive drilling on the partially drilled copper gold targets at the SWAN Zone at Mt Elliott and secondary copper at the Mount Dore prospect, followed by geophysical surveys and drilling at numerous other prospects. During a step-out drilling program at Mount Dore, the high-grade Merlin molybdenum & rhenium deposit was discovered.

Ivanhoe Australia purchased the Osborne Operation and associated tenements from Barrick Gold Corporation in 2010.

Osborne Mine was developed in 1995 by Placer Pacific Ltd, initially as a small open pit followed by extensive underground operation. In 2006 Barrick Gold Corporation acquired Placer Dome in a takeover bid then successfully operated Osborne Mine until 2010 when the operation was put on care and maintenance due to depressed copper price resulting from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

Osborne became the operations centre for the Cloncurry Project when production recommenced from Osborne / Kulthor underground operations in February 2012 followed by production at the Starra 276 underground mine commencing in March 2013. Ore from Starra was hauled 55km back to the Osborne Processing Plant for treatment while the Mount Dore Camp was used for accommodation and as an exploration base. Production ceased at Starra 276 in August 2014, after mining 0.86Mt @ 1.67% Cu, 0.93g/t Au, due to depressed economics associated with the high cost of ore transport and poor metallurgical recovery of the hematite ore. The Mount Dore Camp was placed on care and maintenance and Chinova Exploration relocated their northern base to the small Merlin facilities.

A total of over 29.8Mt @ 2.39%Cu, 0.96g/t Au was produced at Osborne. This included 24.2Mt @ 2.49% Cu, 0.93g/t Au from the Osborne / Kulthor underground orebodies from 1996 to October 2015 when the underground mining ceased due to depletion of reserves. A cutback of the original Osborne Open Pit took place from September 2015 to March 2017, extracting 3.5Mt @ 0.7% Cu, 0.6g/t Au.

Processing of the Osborne Open Pit Cutback ore and low-grade stockpiles continued throughout 2017 to 2020. In March 2019 development mining commenced for the Osborne Underground Remnent Mining Project (OURMP). This project involved the establishment of 4 portals from within the completed Osborne Open Pit to recover the low-grade extremities of the Osborne orebody. The 4 portals were located at 1173RL, 1194RL, 1165RL and 1125RL. Mining was completed in February 2021 with a total of approximately 880k tonnes @ 0.56%Cu, 0.47g/t Au mined from development and open stoping. The OURMP ore was processed through the Osborne Processing Plant, at about 50kt/month, supplemented by low grade mill feed from mineralised waste from the initial Osborne Open Pit (95MW) stockpile, to enable week-on-week-off processing campaigns.

Osborne operations went into a care and maintenance in February 2021 after the OURMP and associated processing was completed.

From 1995 until February 2021, the Osborne Processing Plant has treated 35.6M tonnes at 2.19%Cu, 0.89g/tAu averaging 92%Cu recovery and 76%Au recovery. Mill feed was sourced from:-

  • Osborne Open Pit and Underground = 29.5M tonnes @ 2.31%Cu, 0.91g/t Au
  • Kulthor underground = 2.78M tonnes @ 1.66%Cu, 1.05g/t Au
  • Trekelano Open Pit = 2.36M tonnes @ 1.55%Cu, 0.42g/t Au
  • Starra 276 = 0.86M tonnes @ 1.65%Cu, 0.93g/t Au