A once abandoned zinc mine at Lawn Hill is back in business thanks to New Century Resources (NCR) and National Pump and Energy (NPE).

Located 250km north-west of Mount Isa in the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria, the Century mine was abandoned by MMG Limited three years ago.

NCR were quick to pounce on the site, in a deal that saw MMG pay NCR $46 million to take over the rehabilitation of mine site.

Fast forward to now, NPE's high-pressure water cannons break down cement tailings at the site and turn the remaining residual resources into a slurry, which is then sent to the processing plant.

The specialised hydraulic process uses eight Metso pumps with a 200kW motor capacity. 

The most impressive action occurs at the tailings dam, where expert operators manoeuvre the machines to blast away at the concrete-like crust of the tailings deposits and turn it into the slurry consistency. 

This slurry is fed to a pontoon that houses four huge 240kW submersible slurry pumps.  

Once passing through the hopper, a series of Warman 12/10 belt driven pumps with 500kW mine spec motors drive the slurry along a 7km pipeline back to the process plant.

The innovative pumping system has proven to be an exciting mine model for NPE and saw NCR export their first zinc shipment to China earlier this year.

Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the NCR takeover of the abandoned mine site was an exciting new model of economic rehabilitation in dealing with mine sites that have concluded their original intended purpose.

“It’s the ultimate recycling story,” he said.

Image: Supplied NPE