Rockfall disrupts plan to restart mine

COPPER Mines of Tasmania says it will reassess the economic viability of its besieged Mount Lyell mine following a rockfall that has further disrupted plans to restart operations.

CMT general manager Scott Clyde yesterday said a rockfall had been discovered in the northern exhaust airway of the Queenstown mine. The drive was used for ventilation.

"There was no safety risk to employees as the drive is a non-access area but it will disrupt operations because it is part of the sole means of exhaust ventilation from active levels in the mine," Mr Clyde said.

He said the company was reassessing the work required to reinstate the ventilation circuit to the lower levels of the mine. The likely method of work can only be done when the mine is not in operation.

Mr Clyde said he hoped to know in the next few days the impact this would have on the return to operation and employees.

There has been no production at Mount Lyell since January after the mine recorded its third death in six weeks.

Copper Mines Tasmania had planned to begin a possible phased return to production starting later this month provided it was economically feasible and safe to do so.

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