Kapunda Mine site project draws on regional business

Economic benefits to the tune of $25,000 was recently injected into a collective of local businesses assisting with the ongoing copper recovery project at Kapunda Mine, off Perry Road.

The week and a half of work carried out last December supported the next phase for the 'in-situ' recovery of copper at the historic mine site.

Works, headed by Environmental Copper Recovery (ECR) Pty Ltd, were to validate research performed by CSIRO and Adelaide University.

One company involved was Thrifty-Link Hardware, Kapunda, who were able to order in materials crucial to the work carried out by ECR and supported by the handful of businesses.

Store manager Peter Duregon said there was "no doubt" money was spent in the region.

"They've (ECR) certainly been supportive as just one transaction alone for a bore casing was about $1000," he said.

"Mining is not a cheap game, so it was nice to know they called on us when they could have gone elsewhere."

His wealth of knowledge and resourcefulness to quickly acquire hardware was referred to ECR by Drillsmith's Leon Dickinson, Kapunda, also involved in the project.

ECR managing director Leon Faulkner said it was always the company's intention to rely on regional businesses.

"We were able to utilise a number of local services and a special thanks to Jeff Klemm from Klemm's Hire, Brenton from Eco Waste and Compost, Mark Launer from Total Earthworx, Kapunda Hardware, plus Leon Dickinson from Drillsmith," Mr Faulkner explained.

The financial offshoot was further spread to Kapunda's hotels, accommodation and food outlets.

Mining is not a cheap game, so it was nice to know they called on us when they could have gone elsewhere.

Thrifty-Link Hardware, Kapunda store manager Peter Duregon

Meanwhile, the most recent work involved the Light River, south of the mine site.

"The Light River is a very important environmental receptor," Mr Faulkner said.

"CSIRO [at Waite University] have undertaken extensive environmental baselines and shown that the Light River does not contain any copper," he said.

The outcome further reveals significant differences in rock types between the mine site and the river impeding any contaminates moving into the river.

"This should help regulators with decision on future activities," he said.

Pump testing, which involved drilling one pilot hole 60 metres deep and two bores, was done to check for "hydraulic connectivity" and verify where and how water moves in the water table.

Mr Faulkner said knowing this helps his company to manage any associated risks.

"Water testing confirmed low pH (acid) which explains why the copper is leaching naturally."

"Nature is doing a wonderful job of naturally leaching the copper into solution that offers us an opportunity to continue to work with the environment."

Essentially, this all means that evidence is "beginning to show" that there is "sufficient copper" there to warrant further studies.

"To see whether extraction of economic quantities of copper from natural groundwater is an option," he added.

This will be the focus of the company's work across the next two to three months.

To further support and inform the community of the project, ERC opened an office at 65 Main Street, Kapunda. For more details, visit their Facebook page.