Anax Metals is inches away from securing the final approval to support the reopening of the Whim Creek copper mine in WA, after receiving approval to build a new 400,000tpa concentrator and in-pit tailings storage facility.

The Stage 2 works approval, which follows the revocation of the Whim Creek environmental protection notice, means only the mining proposal, expected imminently, sits in the way of a final investment decision.

Final permitting would facilitate the production of copper, lead and zinc concentrates and copper cathode, with the potential to expand production over time.

READ: Anax celebrates environmental all-clear for Whim Creek copper-zinc project

“We are closing in on the completion of the project permitting as the team continues to deliver on the company strategy,” Anax (ASX:ANX) managing director Geoff Laing said.

“Supported by the financially robust findings contained in the recently announced Whim Creek DFS, we are working with potential funding partners to advance this iconic project through to development.

“We look forward to leveraging our first-mover advantage to become a sustainable, technology-focused copper producer in the Pilbara and a key player in the consolidation of base metal assets in the region.”


A new copper boom

It is one of only a handful of shovel ready copper mines poised to enter production in Australia or even owned by ASX-listed companies, in time to capture the benefit of a looming supply shortfall from the middle of this decade.

Copper is an essential ingredient in the energy transition thanks to its use in EVs, renewables and electrical infrastructure, all of which need to expand exponentially in the shift from fossil fuels.

A DFS in April showed that for just $71m in pre-production capex, Whim Creek could deliver 65,000t of copper and 118,000t of zinc metal over an eight-year mine life at all in sustaining costs of US$2.23/lb, generating $340m in free cash flow.

READ: Stellar Whim Creek study stakes Anax Metals’ claim to become Australia’s next copper star

Global mining major Anglo American is already on board, conducting due diligence on a major debt financing package to get the mine up and running.

The works approval granted on May 25 will enable the installation of a conventional flotation processing plant, three-cell in-pit TSF and a tailings pipeline which will also deliver tailings decant water back to the processing plant for use in processing.

It will also enable infrastructure upgrades to the processing plant, refurbishment of support facilities and the installation of a pipeline to deliver water from dewatering the Whim Creek open pit to the processing plant to also use in processing.

It follows a Stage 1 works approval last year that includes the installation of crushing and ore sorting, a critical and innovative technology Anax is using to upgrade the grade and quality of its mill feed, the refurbishment of its SX-EW circuit to enable the production of copper cathode, a 120-room accommodation village and more.

The Stage 2 mining proposal with the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is the final major regulatory approval required before financing and an FID can be undertaken.

But there are more opportunities ahead for Anax. Located 115km southwest of Port Hedland in the West Pilbara region of WA, Anax is looking at opportunities to consolidate a number of stranded base metals assets in the region through the development of Whim Creek.

20% owned by Bill Beament’s Develop and 80% by Anax, Whim Creek is located near Develop’s Sulphur Springs deposit, with a host of significant copper deposits nearby without a current processing pathway.



This article was developed in collaboration with Anax Metals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.