Copper boost for South Australia

By Lana Guineay

You don’t necessarily think of copper when you pick up your mobile – but the metal makes up about 12% of your phone’s total weight. Thanks to its unique properties as a conductor, copper is a hugely in-demand resource for the 21st Century, used in everything from computer chips to delivering faster internet speeds.

A new copper find in South Australia has the potential to provide a significant boost to production, helping the state meet this long-term demand.

Glenside-based mining firm Havilah Resources has confirmed a thick copper zone at its Croziers site about 400km northeast of Adelaide. Managing Director Chris Giles said the company was planning on drill testing, but the combination of nearby sites could produce up to 50,000 tonnes of copper a year.

The South Australian Government’s AU$20m Program for Accelerated Exploration (PACE) initiative provided half the funding for the Croziers project. Dr Giles said the company’s plan for a copper production plant on the back of the new discovery could see “significant interest” from China where power grid improvement plans and vehicle sales have driven demand.

Growth in copper demand across the world is estimated to outstrip supply in 2020, and SA has the resources and expertise to meet long-term demand from the economic powerhouses of Asia. Australia has around 6% of the world’s copper resources, ranked third after Chile and the USA – and South Australia has almost 70% of the nation’s total, home to a number of deposits including Olympic Dam, the fourth largest copper resource in the world.

The find is the latest in a long history of the metal’s significance in South Australia. Copper has played a key role in economic development since European settlement in 1836, and today forms the leading commodity produced in the state, attracting hundreds of companies and academic institutions that are on the forefront of research and innovation.