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Komatsu MC51 machine. Source: Hillgrove Resources
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  • The South Australian Government awards Hillgrove Resources (HGO) a $2 million grant to trial an underground mining technology
  • Hillgrove will trial the Komatsu MC51 mining machine to develop a portal and 500-metre underground decline at the Kanmantoo Copper Mine
  • This technology claims to make underground operations safer, faster, more cost effective and reduce operational emissions
  • MD and CEO Lachlan Wallace says the grant may bring forward copper production and further reduce mine development costs
  • Company shares ended the day 4.08 per cent in the green to close at 5.1 cents

The South Australian Government has awarded Hillgrove Resources (HGO) a $2 million grant to trial an underground mining technology.

The new technology is being developed in Australia by Komatsu, a global manufacturer and distributor of earthmoving and mining equipment.

Hillgrove will use the Komatsu MC51 mining machine to develop a portal and a 500-metre underground decline at the Kanmantoo Copper Mine in South Australia.

An underground decline will enable the development of multiple drill platforms to reduce drilling costs, infill and expand the resource, and serve as part of planned broader underground mine infrastructure.

Komatsu MC51 uses Komatsu’s DynaCut mechanical cutting technology which is believed to make underground operations safer, faster, more cost effective and reduce operational emissions.

Hillgrove CEO and Managing Director Lachlan Wallace said the grant represented an important milestone for its project.

“The development of an underground decline and drill platforms represents an exciting milestone for the Kanmantoo Underground which ultimately brings forward the potential restart of copper production and further reduces what is already a relatively low-cost mine development.”

The grant will be awarded in two tranches with the first $800,000 to be granted on completion of the portal, initial decline and first corner. The remaining $1.2 million will be awarded at the end of the trial.

However in recognition of the commercial benefit, Hillgrove will repay half of the grant proceeds through a 0.25 per cent royalty on concentrate sales if the trial is considered successful.

The Minister for Energy and Mining, The Hon. Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said he was optimistic the trial will improve underground mining activities.

“This equipment could extract high value zones of economic copper ore more quickly, which is a key part of our plan to increase economic growth. This has attracted widespread interest from Industry, which will observe the trial first-hand,” he said.

“All that would mean more copper, which means more jobs, more growth and more royalties back to taxpayers.”

Company shares ended the day 4.08 per cent in the green to close at 5.1 cents.

HGO by the numbers
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