The Que River mine is on the Bulgobac river in north-west Tasmania, about 75 kilometres south of Burnie and 200km north-west of Hobart. The Que River mine was initially established as a small-scale operation. Bass Metals expected the mine to generate sufficient cash to maintain the company’s larger base metals development activities and regional exploration activities.
The mine is 3km south of the Hellyer volcanic hosted massive sulphide (VHMS) deposit and is in a similar geological setting. The Que River VHMS deposit consists of a cluster of seven steeply dipping polymetallic massive sulphide lenses referred to as QR32, Nico, P North, PQ, S, PQ South, and P3. The lenses strike north-east for a distance of 800m and extend to a depth of about 300m below surface level.
After an extensive trial mining and processing program that was undertaken during early/mid 2007, the company concluded an ore sales agreement with Zinfiex’s Rosebery operations for the delivery of between 4200 tonnes and 8000t of ore per month. Site establishment works and ore deliveries to the Rosebery plant began on September 28, 2007. The mine has since been well established.
The four-stage mine plan spanned between three years and five years, with stage one expected to generate 120,000t grading eight per cent zinc, four per cent lead, 0.7 per cent copper, 99 grams per tonne of silver and 2g/t of gold. The Que River mine has been able to capitalise on infrastructure that remained from a previous mining operation, including power reticulation, sealed road access and a large water settlement dam. Bass Metals has been the first new explorer at the site since the previous mine closed in 1991.