Chandler salt mine near Alice Springs set for 2017
Up to 360 new mining jobs will be created with a proposed new salt mine in the Northern Territory close to Alice Springs. The project area was originally drilled for oil and gas exploration and yielded the impressive results that prompted the further investigation into the mine’s development.
With construction expecting to start in 2017, the new mine which is 120km south of Alice Springs is being operated by mining company Tellus Holdings. The company signed off on a $120 million contract for mining equipment and machinery, the NT News reported.
The Tellus Holdings mine is expected to cost around $464 million. The company are aiming for an indigenous employment target of about 10 per cent. It’s also expected that a comprehensive training program will be initiated to exceed the 10 percent intake in order to boost the local workforce, creating even more indigenous mining jobs.
The mine will drive-in drive-out (DIDO) from Alice Springs, although it’s expected that accommodation will be available at the mine.
The Chandler mine will have an operational life of 25 years, with a total of somewhere in the region of 180 staff.
There are some challenges to building this mine owing to the massive overburden which is estimated to be some 790 metres thick before the minable salt beds can be reached. It’s thought a continuous mines will be used in the extensive underground mining operation which will be designed using the traditional room and pillar method.
The salt being mined is expected to be commercial high grade halite, which will head to Darwin by rail and shipped to Asian countries where it will be used as edible salt, industrial salt, as well as other uses in dust suppressants and fertilisers.
Initial storage sales are expected in the third quarter of 2016, while sale sales won’t start until the end of 2018.
Tellus has also identified new revenue streams from the mine such as a renewable energy power station, salt mine tourism and salt-related microbusinesses that would benefit the local NT communities.
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