|Production||Copper: 34,815 tonnes
Gold: 688,909 ounces
|Opened||1977, 2005 (reopened)|
|Year of acquisition||1990|
In the 2008-09 financial year, the mine produced 32,905 tonnes of copper and 629,108 ounces of gold, within Newcrest's overall production of 90,000 tonnes of copper and 1.6 million ounces of gold. Telfer is one of three gold mines Newcrest currently operates in Australia, the other two being Cadia in New South Wales and Cracow in Queensland. A fourth gold mine owned by the company is the Gosowong Mine in Indonesia.
Newmont Mining first made a claim to the deposit in 1972. However this claim is disputed by Jean-Paul Turcaud to this date. Turcaud claims he found the Telfer deposit two years before Newcrest did. In the early 1980s, Turcaud reached a settlement, accepting $25,000 from Newmont's head office in New York but continued his claim, demanding a Royal Commission. Turcaud continues to sign posts on Global warming to newspapers as the Discoverer of the Telfer and Nifty Mine.
The official story of the discovery states that the deposit was found by Day Dawn Minerals, a small exploration company, who did not stake a claim either. One of the company's geologists, a man called Ronnie Thomson, then moved on to work for Newmont, in which position he informed David Tyrwhitt, then exploration manager for the company in Western Australia, about the promising gold samples that had been found. Newmont paid Day Dawn $15,000 for the maps of the deposit and Tyrwhitt staked out the claim in May 1972.
First mining period 1977 to 2000
The mine opened in 1977 as a joint venture between BHP Billiton and Newmont Mining. In 1990, a merger between Newmont Australia Limited and BHP Gold Limited resulted in the creation of Newcrest Mining, with ownership of the Telfer Mine now lying with Newcrest. The Telfer gold mine was expanded in 1991, and in June 1995, the mine reserves were 3.8 million troy ounces, with resources at 7.3 million troy ounces. The annual production was 370,000 to 380,000 troy ounces of ore. In 1997, the mine reached the milestone of having produced 5 million ounces of gold. Open cut mining was suspended in August 2000 due to high operating costs. The closure of the mine came one year ahead of schedule as production of underground ore was well below mill capacity and therefore not viable. High production costs were primarily caused by the presence of cyanide soluble copper in the open pit ore. Newcrest then focused on exploratory drilling for new minerals.
Second mining period from 2002
In 2002, Newcrest Mining announced a new redevelopment project worth $1 billion, after discovering new mineral areas and a reserve base of some 19 million troy ounces of gold and 640,000 tonnes (710,000 short tons) of copper. The redevelopment expanded underground mining areas, deepened open pits, constructed a processing plant and power station, and built a new gas supply line from Port Hedland. The Telfer mine is not connected to the Western Australian power grid but instead produces its own power from natural gas via a 450 km purpose built pipeline. The power station on site is able to produce 138 MW of power. The focus changed from open pit mining to underground mining, and Telfer became one of Australia's largest gold mines, second only to Kalgoorlie's Super Pit.
In January 2008, Newcrest Mining lowered the mine's annual gold output targets. Newcrest said, "At Telfer, mechanical availability of the open pit mining fleet and the processing of harder ores are impacting the expected production profile for the full year. Telfer site cash costs are expected to [rise] over guidance by 8-9 per cent." In June, the mine was affected by the statewide gas crisis caused by an explosion at Varanus Island. The mine lost 20,000 to 25,000 troy ounces of gold output for June. Newcrest obtained interim gas supply from Woodside Petroleum until August, when gas supply from Varanus Island resumed.
Newcrest was forced to cut job numbers from 1,400 to around 1,000 in late 2008, during the financial crises, to reduce costs.
As of 2013, the forecast mine life for Telfer is 2020 for the underground operations and 2017 for the open pit operations. Mining is carried out at the Main Dome open pit and the underground operations below. The West Dome pit is being mined again.
On 4 December 2013 a contractor was killed at the mine, being crushed by pipe work.
Production figures for the mine:
|Year||Production||Grade||Cost per ounce|
|1999 ||314,295 ounces||1.33 g/t||A$390|
|2000 ||176,000 ounces||1.62 g/t||A$494|
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- Thompson, Dionne (2008-06-27). "Newcrest's Telfer gold output down 25,000 oz on Apache gas stoppage". Metal Bulletin.
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- Worker killed at Newcrest's Telfer mine in WA north Australian Broadcasting Corporation, published: 4 December 2013, accessed: 31 December 2013