MELBOURNE, Nov. 30 -- OZ Minerals Ltd., an Australian copper and gold producer, is seeking to boost output at its Prominent Hill mine in South Australia next year and wants to speed the underground expansion of the operation.
"Our immediate focus is targeting higher mill throughput for 2010, unit cost containment and margin improvement" at Prominent Hill, the Melbourne-based company said today in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.
Chief Executive Officer Terry Burgess said last month he will recommend a focus on copper and gold production growth in South Australia following a 100-day strategic review he ordered after becoming CEO in August. OZ Minerals was once the world's second-largest zinc mining company before it sold $1.6 billion of mines this year to slash debt.
"Good progress has been made on the underground feasibility study at Prominent Hill and, with a positive outcome and board approval, we plan to fast track development to maximize value from the asset," the company said.
OZ Minerals declined 6 percent to A$1.18 on Nov. 27 in Sydney trading on the Australian stock exchange. OZ Minerals has a market value of A$3.7 billion ($3.3 billion).
OZ today also said it will form a joint venture with IMX Resources Ltd. to explore and develop copper-gold projects at IMX's ground in South Australia. OZ agreed to buy 26.1 million IMX shares, or about 15 percent of the company, at 38.5 cents a share, it said in a separate statement.