Cadia expansion jobs boom to boost Orange's economy in tough times

Newcrest is about to ramp up the construction phase of its $1 billion expansion project at the Cadia mine with 900 workers to be employed.
17-07-2020 |
Article from Central Western Daily - David Fitzsimons (17/7/2020)

Newcrest is about to ramp up the construction phase of its $1 billion expansion project at the Cadia mine with 900 workers to be employed.

It will provide an economic boost to Orange through spending on accommodation, food and dining plus flow-on effects to local manufacturing and businesses. Cadia acting general manager Aaron Brannigan said the underground mine expansion work was underway and the construction phase was about to start.

"The actual infrastructure expansion project will ramp up from now to the end of the year. That will peak at about 900 new roles," he said. "That will remain constant for about three months, and that will drop off and that will average about 700 people until the end of calendar year 2022, so [that's] virtually two years."

Newcrest CEO and managing director Sandeep Biswas said it would boost the Orange region, particularly as it was happening in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. "People are struggling and employment is really important. We're pumping in the best part of $1 billion overall at this time. [There's] employment in manufacturing and the local trades and workshops. I think it is a real boost for the economy."

The expansion involves the development of a mining area known as PC 2-3, materials handling system upgrades, associated infrastructure plus works to increase the plant capacity.

He said a total of 1200-1300 extra workers would be employed during the project.He said a further 140 jobs were being created in the construction of a new plant to extract molybdenum from the ore at Cadia. "The molybdenum plant, there is about 100 people working there at the moment. That will peak closer to September at about 140 [jobs]. Toward the end of the year then it will taper off.'"

Mr Brannigan said Cadia was working with Orange360 to find accommodation for non-local employees for the project. "That helps to spread the wealth and it also ensures we are not clustering up in areas and potentially stifling tourism," he said.

Mr Biswas has been touring the Cadia plant this week and presented medical equipment to Orange hospital staff and hand-sanitising units to Orange, Blayney and Cabonne councils for parks and sports fields on Wednesday.

He said the Cadia mine had at least another 40-50 years life and they were planning further expansion. That will include a possible extra tailings dam once repairs were completed on the wall of the northern tailings dam which collapsed in 2018.

Cadia will receive a report on how to repair the wall by December.

Mr Biswas said they would look at potential sites on and off the mine site, including on private property. "There's no real time pressure, we've got time to get this right. We've got on site storage for another 8-10 years without using this facility," he said.

"I think its something we have to look at. If we're going to be here for another 40-50 years even with the northern tailings dam repaired we will need to have another tailings facility at some point. We are exploring where that new location might be, that will always be required in any long term plan."

And he said they would be exploring for other mine sites in the region. "There's no active drilling going on, [but] we've done a lot of drilling in the past.

"But at the moment there's so much ore at Cadia we don't need anymore, but doesn't mean we won't look in the future," he said.

"Right now our focus is on expanding the mine and developing the infrastructure for expansion. But we may look a bit further down the track."

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