AIC Mines to begin surface work at Jericho after securing mining lease

AIC Mines (ASX:A1M) is looking to start surface work at its Jericho Copper Mine in Queensland after the state government approved the grant of a mining lease. 

Granted by Queensland’s Department of Resources, the mining lease covers 881.7 hectares, has an initial 10-year term, and is due to take effect on 1 June.

AIC Mines, which has a market capitalisation of $247.42 million, says surface works will begin within a maximum 10-hectare area and mine development activities will take place with a maximum of 20 people employed on-site. 

Managing Director Aaron Colleran called the grant of the mining lease an “important milestone” for the Jericho Project.

“The project will employ approximately 150 people over a 24-month construction period and then 100 new permanent employees when in production,” he says. 

The company says the Jericho mining optimisation studies to reduce initial schedule risk and longer-term operational risks are being finalised. The major component of this work is to investigate direct underground access to Jericho from the Eloise portal via a 3.6km link drive. 

The next important approvals relevant to the Jericho mine development are the Jericho Site Specific Environmental Authority and an amendment to the Eloise Environmental Authority. 

Discussions are underway with the Queensland Government’s Department of Environmental, Science, and Innovation to understand the requirements to achieve these approvals. 

Colleran says the development of a new underground mine at Jericho is a game-changer for the Eloise Copper Mine. 

“It provides a pathway to expanding annual production at Eloise to over 20,000 tonnes of copper and 10,000 ounces of gold in concentrate,” he says. 

“Mining at Jericho will be lower cost than Eloise as it is much shallower, commencing below only 50m of cover. Expansion of the Eloise processing plant will further reduce operating costs through economies of scale and equipment improvements.”

AIC began exploration drilling at Jericho in April, testing targets along strike. The mineral resource remains open along strike and at depth. 

The drill rig is now completing holes around the planned underground infrastructure to gather geotechnical information. 

Exploration drilling is also planned at Jericho South, with 850m of drilling planned to test the J1, J2, and J3 positions. 

Further drilling will test strike and plunge extensions of the known shoots later in the year, particularly at J2. 

The Jericho copper deposit lies 4km south of the Eloise processing plant and has similar geology, mineralisation, and metallurgy to Eloise. Development of the Jericho mine and expansion of the Eloise processing plant will lift production to over 20,000 tonnes per year copper and 7,500 ounces per year gold. 

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Images: AIC Mines
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.