Peculiar Knob (PK) is located approximately 112km (by road) southeast of Coober Pedy and is situated within the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA), an area administered by the Department of Defence.
PK is a predominantly haematite iron ore deposit with some residual magnetite. Mineralisation is typically course grained specularite lenses hosted between an intrusive granite (footwall) and magnetite quartzite (hanging wall).
After operating for 3 - 4 years, in January 2015 the mine was placed into voluntary administration by the previous owners (Arrium). Peak purchased the asset from the administrators in July 2019 and restarted operations onsite in February 2020.
In October 2019, the Government of South Australia approved Peak’s revised Program for Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR) to recommission the open pit. The first blast occurred on 21 November 2020.
The remaining mineral resource consists of approximately 7.2 million tonnes of high-grade iron ore (~63% Fe). The mine is a simple open pit operation involving drilling and blasting, excavation of ore, crushing and screening, dry magnetic separation, followed by road and rail haulage to the port for export. The ore has been exported via Port Adelaide since February 2020.
The production rate is currently 1.4 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa). The Whyalla Port is expected to become available for export of iron ore from third parties in February 2021. The first shipment of PK iron ore from Whyalla is expected to occur in April 2020.
Peculiar Knob Mine acquired
Stockpile reclaim contractors appointed
First train loaded at PK Wirrida Rail Loop
First ore exported via Port Adelaide
LOM offtake agreement executed
500,000 tonnes exported
Peculiar Knob open pit recommissioned
First open pit blast
Surface stockpile reclamation complete
First 100% in-pit material ship exported
The recommissioning of the Peculiar Knob open pit mine has created over 130 new jobs in mining, road haulage, rail haulage and port operations. Over 90% of those employed throughout the supply chain live in South Australia. There is also additional local jobs created in Far North SA from sourcing goods and services from Coober Pedy. For the mining, road haulage and rail loading operations, employees are currently based at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill Village where they travel to and from the Peculiar Knob mine site daily.
As part of the Native Title Mining Agreement with the Traditional Owners, there are provisions for the employment at Peculiar Knob of Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara people as well as business opportunities via sub-contracts.
In addition to direct employment through Peak’s primary and secondary contractors, there will be other employment opportunities created by ancillary contracts and services to support the mining operations. Peak’s policy is for preferential purchasing of goods and services (where prices are comparable) from Coober Pedy, then the Upper Spencer Gulf, then other parts of South Australia before seeking goods and services from interstate.