The Telfer gold-copper mines in the Great Sandy Desert in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia, are 100 per cent owned by Newcrest. Telfer is a fly-in-fly-out operation, 400 kilometres east-south-east of Port Hedland and approximately 1,300 kilometres by air or 1,900 kilometres by road north-east of the state’s capital, Perth.
Telfer comprises the Main Dome and West Dome open pits and the Telfer underground mine. Telfer also has a number of other prospective gold and poly-metallic deposits in the area covered by Newcrest’s existing mining and exploration tenements.
The ore from the mining operations is processed by a large, dual train, communition circuit followed by flotation and cyanide circuits, which produce gold doré and a copper-gold concentrate. The process is complex because of the need to accommodate differing ore types. Copper-gold concentrates produced at Telfer are filtered to produce a dewatered concentrate which is trucked to Port Hedland and exported to various smelters, primarily in the East Asia region. The gold doré produced at Telfer is refined at the Perth Mint.
Approximately six million ounces of gold were produced between 1975 until Telfer’s closure in 2000, with over four million ounces of gold produced since operations recommenced in 2004.
In the financial year ending 30 June 2015, Telfer produced 520,309 ounces of gold and 23,119 tonnes of copper.
The near mine environment contains a number of semi to advanced exploration targets which have the potential to deliver new growth for Telfer. The project also contains a large regional tenement package that extends over 1,000 square kilometers. Application of a new exploration model has identified a number of regional targets.
Telfer creates economic value for Western Australia and local communities in a number of ways, including direct revenues from operations, employment, investments in public infrastructure and services, support of local and regional suppliers and a range of other indirect economic benefits.
In December 2015 Newcrest signed an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Martu people who are the traditional owners of the land surrounding the Telfer gold mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
The agreement will provide $18 million over five years for the benefit of Martu, followed by a revenue based payment from mining in the agreement area. It commits Newcrest to providing practical support to improve the quality of life for Martu, including in the areas of training, employment and contracting, and logistical support. It also provides for ongoing heritage protection for areas of special significance.
Telfer’s environmental priorities include flora and fauna, land and water, air and noise, waste, rehabilitation and mine closure. A key environmental issue at Telfer is the management of cyanide which is used as part of the process for recovering gold in the processing plant. Newcrest is a signatory to the ‘International Cyanide Management Code for the Manufacture, Transport and use of Cyanide in the Production of Gold’, and Telfer is certified under this Code.