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Komatsu’s MC51 continuous mining machine.

Hillgrove Resources has received a grant from the South Australian Government to trial Komatsu’s latest underground mining technology at its Kanmantoo copper mine.

Hillgrove will be using Komatsu’s MC51 continuous mining equipment to develop the Kavanagh portal by approximately 500 metres of decline.

The company hopes this will add to Kavanagh’s 646,000-tonne indicated copper-gold resource.

The $2 million grant came as part of the Government’s Jobs and Economic Growth Fund which seeks to encourage existing and developing industries to attract investment.

Hillgrove chief executive officer and managing director Lachlan Wallace said the trial could create massive change for the business and the industry.

“The trial at Kanmantoo is an important collaboration between the State Government, Komatsu and Hillgrove to facilitate the commercialisation of continuous mining technology which has the potential to revolutionise underground mine development by making underground operations safer and more productive, while taking a significant step towards zero emission mining,” Wallace said.

The trial will look to reduce blasting processes to improve safety and community relations, while also reducing wastage.

Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said all eyes would be on Kanmantoo once the trial gets underway.

“This equipment could extract high value zones of economic copper ore more quickly, which is a key part of our plan to increase economic growth,” he said.

“This has attracted widespread interest from Industry, which will observe the trial first-hand.

“I’m optimistic this trial will help develop ways of mining underground more safely, quickly and sustainably. All that would mean more copper, which means more jobs, more growth and more royalties back to taxpayers.”