The giant pit at Hillgrove Resources' Kanmantoo copper mine will be exhausted in 2019, but the company's future remains exciting, says chairman John Gooding.
Underground mining may extend the life of the Kanmantoo mine as well, as high-grade copper and gold deposits had been identified nearby.
Each opportunity would be explored "responsibly and with a modest investment", Mr Gooding told Hillgrove's annual general meeting on May 24.
In the meantime, he suggested the company's recent tough times were over, and it was now fulfilling its obligations to creditors and employees.
Two million tonnes of ore sat above ground, ready for processing, a stockpile that would grow over the next year.
Rehabilitation of the mine's Nugent pit had also begun.
"I would like to thank all our shareholders, our employees and staff, the local and state governments and our contractors and suppliers for assisting us to overcome what has been a tough few years," Mr Gooding said.
"The continuing support of the local community has been essential and is appreciated."
The continuing support of the local community has been essential and is appreciated.John Gooding