Cadia is one of Australia’s largest gold mining operations. The mine is located approximately 25 kilometres from Orange in Central West New South Wales (NSW) and 250 kilometres west of Sydney.
The Cadia mine, Cadia Valley Operations (CVO), is licenced to operate until 2031. Newcrest have identified mineral resources for production until approximately 2050.
Cadia Continued Operations Project (CCOP) is Newcrest’s proposal for a long-term continuation to mining operations.
Cadia produces gold doré from a gravity circuit and gold-rich copper concentrates from a flotation circuit at Cadia. Gold and copper are essential minerals to many innovative technologies around the world — such as smart and renewable energy, aquaculture and electric cars, as well as in industries such as construction, medicine, electronics and manufacturing.
Cadia has been part of the community for 25 years. We want to continue supporting regional investment, jobs and the energy transition.
CCOP is our proposal to extend our Life of Mine (LOM). Having a longer LOM ensures long-term job security for our workers. We currently employ over 1,500 people. More than 85% of our workforce live and spend locally.
An extension to LOM would also mean we could continue our other existing economic and social contributions to the region, including contributions to indigenous education, fire service training and community projects with a focus on health, agriculture and tourism.
The four main aspects of the CCOP proposal are:
- continued underground mining in the Cadia East and Ridgeway mining areas.
- continuation of existing operations beyond 2031 (for a period of 25 years from the date of approval, to 2048-2050)
- construction of an extension to the current South Tailings Storage Facility (STSFX).
- an additional water storage within the Cadiangullong Catchment to provide enhanced security of water supply to the mine.
- realignment of Panuara Road to account for these project features.
Tailings are the un-economic by-product from gold processing and consist of ground rock and ore processing reagents. They must be safely stored in an engineered facility built to stringent Australian and International Standards.
Cadia currently has three Tailings Storage Facilities – the Northern Tailings Storage Facility (NTSF), Southern Tailings Storage Facility (STSF) and the Cadia Hill Pit Tailings Storage Facility (PTSF).
The CCOP proposal will require additional storage capacity, as these existing facilities which do not have sufficient capacity to provide for mining beyond current approvals.
When investigating a suitable site for the Tailings Storage Facility, we considered potential impacts on the environment and community, topography and the technical and operating capacity of the location. Seven options were investigated, with the Southern Tailings Facility Extension (STSFX) chosen as the preferred option.
This location would provide a suitable storage capacity, while minimising the land disturbance required, as it proposes an extension of the existing Southern Tailings Facility (STF). Additionally, the southern location avoids locating the dam on any new water streams and catchment areas.
Following the selection of the preferred location, we worked to improve the design, based on feedback from members of the community and advice of technical experts. The result is a significant reduction in the size of the footprint for the STSFX site, as can be seen from the diagram below.
These Project information Sheets provide details on the various types of investigations undertaken when determining a preferred site, as well as the reasons why site investigations are required to determine a site is safe and suitable from an engineering, capacity and environmental perspective.
To further assist community in understanding the location of the proposed STSFX, site markers are now in place. They consist of a star picket with a piece of white PVC pipe over them and are placed approximately 200m apart along where the toe of the embankment is expected to be located. Members of the public are able to view the markers adjacent to the north-south section of Meribah Rd on the eastern end of the proposed site.
We have been investigating different options for the storage of its tailings over a number of years. Multiple technology options have been considered at various phases throughout the selection process.
Detailed assessment has revealed Hydrocyclone technology as the preferred option due to the following considerations:
- Less land disturbance from reduced quarrying
- Lower noise levels for impacted residents
- No increase above current water requirements
- Increased embankment stability
- Less energy intensive
Tailings are the un-economic by-product from gold processing and consist of ground rock and ore processing reagents. Hydrocycloning of the tailings waste separates the sand (hydrocycloned-sand) from the tailings, providing material for construction of the new Tailings Storage Facility embankments.
A hydrocyclone uses centrifugal forces to separate tailings into coarse and fine fractions. Once separated, the coarse sand (hydrocyclone underflow) is delivered to, and hydraulically deposited into cells on the embankment for compaction. The finer fraction is discharged into the facility behind the progressively raised embankment. Water is collected and returned to the process for reuse.
Hydrocycloning of tailings was developed in the 1960s and continues to be used globally as a safe and reliable method of embankment construction.
Cadia sources its water from diverse sources, including from site rainfall runoff, treated effluent water from Orange City Council and local creeks and rivers under water licence allocations. Water stewardship is a high priority for Cadia, and we regularly look at ways to source, manage and secure our water supply for our operations in a way that minimises the impact to other users, local communities and the environment.
Cadia is assessing options associated with another water storage facility (a water storage facility and associated infrastructure) to provide additional water security for the continued operations.
A realignment of Panuara Rd is required due to the proposed construction of an extension to the Southern Tailings Storage Facility (STSFX), which will extend over the current location of the road in some areas. The road realignment will be designed to a high standard.
The realignment of the road will increase the distance travelled by road users by approximately 3.5km (2 minutes at the speed limit).
The construction of the new sections of Panuara Rd will be undertaken while maintaining the existing road in use. There will be times when traffic control will be in place when the new sections of road are joined to the old sections.