Xstrata looks to expand its Black Star mine

Xstrata Zinc announced that it has plans to extend the life of its Black Star mine another 100 meters below surface level.

Originally announced in March 2010, the move it is part of a $133 million expansion plan cleverly coined the Black Star 'Deeps' project.

The move to prolong the zinc mine's life hangs in the balance until a study proves the expansion to be economically viable.  The NorthWestStar reports the study will be concluded by November.

In speaking to the NorthWestStar, Natural Resource and Mines Minister, Andrew Cripps, explained that the Queensland region is looking to aid Xstrata in their endeavor to keep the mine running.

"The resources sector is one of the four pillars of the economy and will play a pivotal role in curbing this state's $2.8 billion deficit and ballooning debt, a legacy left to us by the former Labor Government."

A week earlier Cripps gave approval for a new rail-based transport system to service multiple mining projects in the region.

According to MiningAustralia, Xstrata is "confident about the success of the expansion, having already awarded an extension to its contract miner, Industrea, to continue operations until December next year."

The expansion is expected to produce another 4.6 million tonnes of ore per year and prolong the zinc mine's life beyond 2016.