Grange Resources Ltd has officially celebrated its 50th anniversary of operations in Tasmania at the company’s Annual General Meeting in Burnie today (Wednesday 30 May).

CEO Mr. Honglin Zhao said it was a significant and important milestone for the company which had recently announced a $10 million investment for the first stage of a pre-feasibility study into underground mining at Savage River’s North Pit.

“We are also planning to spend about $20 million on a refurbishment program for our mining truck fleet in the next two years, and about $8 million on structural refurbishment of key assets at Port Latta, including the pellet plant and the offshore structure,” he said.

Mr Zhao said the Savage River Project was born in 1967 following the completion of a $2.5 million pre-feasibility study.

“The Savage River project had a life of just 20 years when it first opened, and has experienced ups and downs including a halt of operations in the mid-1990s and a planned closure in the late 2000s, but 50-years later we are still here and planning for the future and our next phase of development,” he said.

Mr Zhao said the project quickly moved from exploration to mining, to processing the ore, creating concentrate and pumping 85 kilometres via a 9 inch steel pipe to the Port Latta pellet plant.

“The slurry pipeline construction is still highly regarded for its innovation and for the tenacity of those who built it,” he said.

“It runs through dense bushland from Savage River to Port Latta and remains one of the longest of its kind in the world today.”

Today, the mine comprises three principal open pits – North, Centre and South Deposit Pit – covering a strike length of more than six kilometres.

The mineralisation is considered significant due to the size of the ore body, the grade and quality.

The magnetite deposit has low levels of impurities. It supports the production of a pellet that has low levels of sulphur and the world’s lowest phosphorous content, making it excellent for quality steel- making.

There is a drill hole below Centre Pit that is 850 metres deep. It intersects the ore body at 650 metres below sea level and shows that it is 150 metres wide at that depth and still high quality magnetite.

At peak production, the mine extracts enough ore to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground every month.

In recent years, annual production has exceeded 2.6 million tonnes on four furnaces.

Mr Zhao said the 50th anniversary celebrations provided a unique opportunity to reflect on “where the business has come from” and to “look forward to the times ahead”.

“We have dramatically improved our production efficiency, safety and turned around legacy environmental issues,” he said.

“It is also important to pass on the company’s sincere thanks to our employees for their sustained commitment, and the support of their families.

“It is thanks to them that we have witnessed continuous growth of our business and have seen us achieve record production rates in recent years.”