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South32’s Taylor Deposit will be its first ‘next-generation’ endeavour

In a bid to minimise its carbon footprint, diversified mining firm South32, has announced that it plans to use technology and automation in its Taylor Deposit, which is the first development option at the company’s Hermosa project located in Arizona, US. Photo: REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

In a bid to minimise its carbon footprint, diversified mining firm South32, has announced that it plans to use technology and automation in its Taylor Deposit, which is the first development option at the company’s Hermosa project located in Arizona, US. Photo: REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

Published Jan 18, 2022

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IN A BID to minimise its carbon footprint, diversified mining firm South32, has announced that it plans to use technology and automation in its Taylor Deposit, which is the first development option at the company’s Hermosa project located in Arizona, US.

Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, with secondary listings on the Johannesburg and London Stock Exchanges, the company was providing an update following the completion of a pre-feasibility study (PFS) in Taylor Deposit.

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The final investment decision to construct Taylor is expected in mid2023.

The Taylor Deposit is a large, carbonate replacement massive sulphide deposit, which extends to a depth of approximately 1 200 metres over a strike length of 2 500 metres and width of 1 900 metres.

The Mineral Resource estimate for the Taylor Deposit is 138 million tons, averaging 3.82 percent zinc, 4.25 percent lead, and 81 g/t silver.

The deposit remains open at depth and laterally, offering further exploration potential.

Hermosa is a polymetallic development option, it contains the zinc-leadsilver Taylor sulphide deposit (Taylor Deposit), the zinc-manganese-silver Clark oxide deposit (Clark Deposit), and an extensive, highly prospective land package with the potential for further polymetallic and copper mineralisation.

South32’s chief executive, Graham Kerr said: “We are designing the Taylor Deposit to be our first ‘next-generation mine’, using automation and technology to minimise our impact on the environment and to target a carbon-neutral operation in line with our goal of achieving net-zero operational carbon emissions by 2050.”

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Kerr said completing the PFS for the Taylor Deposit was an important milestone that demonstrated its potential to be a globally-significant and sustainable producer of base and precious metals in the industry’s first cost quartile.

“The future development of Taylor provides a platform from which to realise Hermosa’s immense potential.

“It will further strengthen our portfolio and align with the already substantial growth in production of metals critical to a low carbon future that we have embedded in the portfolio over the past six months,” Kerr said.

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South32 said the PFS results supported Taylor’s potential to be the first development of a multi-decade operation, establishing Hermosa as a globally significant producer of metals critical to a low carbon future, delivering attractive returns over multiple stages.

“An initial development case demonstrates a sustainable, highly productive zinc-lead-silver underground mine and conventional process plant, in the first quartile of the industry cost curve,” it said.

In South Africa in June, South32 announced that it completed the divestment of its 100 percent shareholding in SA Coal Holdings (South African Energy Coal, SAEC) to Seriti Resources and two trusts for the benefit of employees and communities. At the time, the mining firm also issued a daily share buy-back notice.

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