The Queensland Government has granted Prescribed Project status to the $258 million Ravenswood Expansion Project in a move expected to streamline the approvals process.
The Ravenswood Expansion Project will extend Resolute’s local gold operations for a further 13 years to at least 2029, increase average annual production to more than 120,000 ounces, protect 280 local jobs, and create 100 new construction roles.
It is expected to require start-up capital of $134 million for pre-stripping and staged processing plant expansion to 5Mtpa, with an overall cap ex of $258 million staged over six years to 2022.
The company said various local, regional, and state regulatory approvals were required for the project to proceed and that it had a critical timeline to deliver the new long-life mine operation at Ravenswood.
“Resolute is proud of its successful history of operation at Ravenswood and appreciates the support we are receiving from government in our efforts to create a viable future for our mine,” managing director and chief executive officer John Welborn said.
“Receiving timely approvals is critical to the successful delivery of our expansion project, the ongoing production of gold, and to secure the retention of our workforce.
“Under our existing approvals, mining operations will cease during the course of 2017. To continue operating at Ravenswood we need approvals for the Sarsfield operation in early 2017 and approvals for Buck Reef West by mid 2018.
“The granting of Prescribed Project status allows us to access the direct support of the Coordinator-General in securing the required project approvals in the required timeframe.”
Under relevant Queensland state legislation, Prescribed Project declaration is designed to facilitate the approval process for projects deemed to be of particular economic or social significance to Queensland or a region within the state.
This is achieved by empowering the Coordinator General to actively assist in the planning, delivery and coordination of all required government and regulatory approvals, while ensuring the project’s environmental impacts are properly managed.
The Ravenswood gold operation has run since 1987 and currently employs 280 full-time workers, producing about 100,000 oz of gold per annum.
Recent gold production at Ravenswood has been sourced from the Mt Wright underground mine which is due to close next year.