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The Peko Rehabilitation Project at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory is a tailings reprocessing operation with the aim of recovering economical amounts of magnetite, gold, copper cobalt and bismuth, from a resource of almost four million tonnes of mine tailings and has an expected production life of between six and seven years.

Peko Rehabilitation Project Pty Ltd Purchased the Tailings in 1999

The Peko Rehabilitation Project, that is located at Nobles Nob off Peko Road, is at the centre of the Barkley Region and 1,000 kilometres south of Darwin, at the site of an old Peko mine. Peko Rehabilitation Project Pty Ltd acquired the tailings dump in 1999 and was quick to get production up and running. It was the first such development to take place in Northern Territory.

Bacteria Helping to Recover Minerals

Bacteria is at the centre of the process being used in the rehabilitation process. The tiny bugs clean up the minerals and deliver them as a saleable product. It takes the bacteria about 120 days to do their work but on the bright side they end up with a delivery rate of up to 90 percent. Once the magnetite is separated from the other minerals in this way it is bagged for export to Queensland and India where it is put to use cleaning coal. It was hoped that the money generated from the sale of magnetite would help finance recovery of other metals such as copper and gold buried under tonnes of waste material.

Low Commodity Prices Hurt the New Venture

Things haven't gone to plan however and the company was forced into closing for a period following a number of pressures placed on the operation from outside the control of the projects management. Ten workers on the project were the first to leave leaving a skeleton staff of five to wait and see what the future held for them. All workers received their full entitlements and were told their jobs would be there waiting for them once the situation changed.

A drop in commodity prices came too early for the fledging project to ride out but the straw that finally broke the camels back, so to speak, was the flooding of the mine and subsequent closing of the Barkly Highway into Queensland. Cheaper importing of Magnetite didn't help the situation either. Without a successful raising of more funds the management had no other option but to close up shop until their fortunes changed. There were sufficient gold reserves in the tailings that could be recovered to place the company on a better financial footing but they needed a financial injection of at least $15 million to build a gold plant before this could be achieved.

The town of Tennant Creek also felt the full impact of the Peko Rehabilitation Project being placed on care and maintenance as all projects such as this bring with it a lot of work for local contractors and tradespeople such as electricians, builders and earth movers.

Many Other Miners Remain in the Area

Tennant Creek has a rich history in mining, particularly gold mining. Many major companies still have interests in operating gold mines in the area. Other minerals such as manganese and copper are also quite plentiful. The town is also the hub of a substantial cattle industry. All this has led to the building of worthwhile community facilities such as a gallery, library and civic hall, reserves and sporting facilities. There is a large indigenous population in the town which makes it a true multi-cultural community. The Aboriginal people contribute in the way of paintings crafts and artefacts which maintains their traditions and identity.

Peko Rehabilitation Project

The Peko Rehabilitation Project, is at the centre of the Barkley Region and 1,000 kilometres south of Darwin, at the site of an old Peko mine. Peko Rehabilitation Project Pty Ltd acquired the tailings dump in 1999 and was quick to get production up and running. It was the first such development more


Peko Rehabilitation Project
Nobles Nob, Peko Rd
Tennant Creek, NT 860


Phone08 8962 3255

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