Work is poised to start on the underground exploration and development decline at Hillgrove’s Kanmantoo copper project with the arrival of the Komatsu MC51 continuous miner.

Besides providing the company with a headstart on its future mining activities, the decline also allows it to establish four underground drilling platforms that will accelerate drilling and resource growth at a lower cost.

To top it off, the development is funded by Komatsu until Hillgrove Resources (ASX:HGO) receives project financing for a restart of Kanmantoo, which endorses the potential of the project.

The portal cut is expected to begin this month. Drilling is also expected to start this month with the company now in the process of finalising the drill mobilisation schedule.

Managing director Lachlan Wallace said the development of the underground decline and establishment of underground drilling platforms was “a key milestone in the Kanmantoo Underground development program”.

“With the underground drill platforms accelerating and reducing the cost of the upcoming drilling program, and the decline bringing forward the potential restart of copper production, (it further reduces) what is already a low-cost mine development.

“Along with the progression of the portal preparation works, we are also in the process of finalising the mobilisation of drill rigs, the first of which is anticipated to be onsite later this month.”

hillgrove resources kanmantoo copper kavanagh
Location of the Kavanagh portal within the Kanmantoo pit. Pic: Supplied

Kanmantoo copper-gold mine

The Kanmantoo copper-gold mine produced 137,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate from a series of open pits between 2011 and 2020.

Hillgrove pursued underground exploration after noting that all of the mined lodes were very steeply dipping and had continued beyond the base of the pits, the deepest of which reached a depth of 360m.

Drilling to date has supported this decision, highlighting that the lodes extend at least 500m below the base of the open pit with sufficient widths and grades to support an underground mine.

Underground mining at Kanmantoo is also essentially just a restart with a different mining method, allowing Hillgrove to benefit from a fully-permitted site, strong community support, and having all required infrastructure – including a 3.5 million tonne per annum process facility – already in place.

This article was developed in collaboration with Hillgrove Resources, 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.