Altona Mining has unveiled results of a pit optimisation study for the newly discovered Turkey Creek deposit at its 100% owned Cloncurry copper project near Mt Isa in Queensland.

The potentially mineable resources have not been classified as Ore Reserves. Metallurgical testwork has been completed on sulphide mineralisation only. Metallurgical drilling, definitive testwork, geotechnical and mine designs are required to bring the Mineral Resource to Ore Reserve status. Altona will be undertaking these studies in coming months.

Integration of the Turkey Creek deposit into the Little Eva Project, which envisages a 7 million tonnes per annum processing facility, has the potential to add up to 2.5 years mine life to the current 11 year mine life.

Altona Mining managing director Alistair Cowden said: "The study demonstrates that mine life at Little Eva will easily exceed 11 years and that the mining and treatment of the copper oxide mineralisation through the proposed Little Eva plant, even at low recoveries, could add significant value to the project.

"Numerous deposits in the wider Cloncurry Project have oxide caps and Altona will report on all oxide resources in coming months.

"We expect that the proposed A$345 million Joint Venture envisaged in the recently announced Framework Agreement with Sichuan Railway Investment Group will consider developing a significant inventory of oxide across the project further enhancing the attractiveness of this major copper development project."

At Turkey Creek the main copper sulphide mineralisation is capped by copper oxide mineralisation from surface to depths of 25 to 45 metres. This material may be amenable to treatment through the proposed Little Eva flotation circuit via sulphidisation or via the addition of a leach circuit.

The study highlights opportunity for a significant improvement in the project value as additional near surface copper oxide mineralisation occurs at all the deposits in the project mine plan. This material has not been included in the Definitive Feasibility Study ("DFS"). In the current plan the material is mined early as pre-strip to access the copper sulphide zones and stockpiled for future treatment.

Turkey Creek is located 1.5 kilometres east of the planned Little Eva open pit mine and processing plant and lies within granted Mining Leases.