Resolute Mining has announced significant improvements to the Ravenswood Expansion Project (REP) in north Queensland, including longer mine life.
The company said this came after government approvals allowed it to adopt an optimised mining and processing schedule, a revised processing and tailings management strategy, and to incorporate new technologies to improve efficiency.
It has also updated production targets and flagged decreased costs.
Ravenswood is an historic gold mine located about 90km east of Charters Towers.
The updated REP is expected to deliver 1.5 million ounces of gold production over 13 years.
Mine life has been extended by three years to 2031 from the original REP study, while the life-of-mine all-in sustaining cost has reduced to $1097 per ounce from $1166/oz, with associated project capital of $327 million.
Average production will be about 115,000oz of gold per year.
A significant benefit of the REP update is the deferment of about $100 million of major project capital as a result of the extension of underground mining at Mt Wright.
Timely receipt of all major project approvals allows Resolute to accelerate the Buck Reef West open pit and has significantly reduced required initial project capital, which is expected to be $33 million this financial year.
Resolute managing director and chief executive officer John Welborn said he was pleased that the REP update further demonstrated the long-term value to Resolute shareholders of the Ravenswood operation.
“Ravenswood has been an integral part of Resolute’s business for more than a decade. Our performance at Ravenswood over this period has been exceptional,” he said.
“We have a strong history of operational experience based on open pit and underground mining. Our team has shown agility and skill in managing both a highly successful and unique underground operation and large scale open pit mining. I am proud that our imagination and tenacity has been rewarded in defining a long-term future for the asset. The REP Update represents an enhanced development plan for Ravenswood which maximises shareholder value.”
Mr Welborn said a simplified tailings management strategy had been developed which would have significant operating benefits.
“Beneficiation test work has confirmed the unique properties of the Sarsfield deposits will enable a simple pre-milling upgrade,” he said. “This work creates an opportunity to re-examine the large waste rock stockpiles accumulated during earlier mining which now represent further potential.
“Ravenswood boasts a very large resource base, extensive processing infrastructure, low cost grid power and a stable skilled local work force. Resolute’s success is enabled by a committed and talented operating team who are relentless in their continuous pursuit of lower operating and capital cost for the project.”
Background: Ravenswood Expansion Project Study – Released in September 2016
In September 2016, Resolute published the REP study which outlined the company’s plans to complete the Mt Wright underground mine and maintain continuity of production at Ravenswood by commencing open pit mining at the Nolans East, Sarsfield, and Buck Reef West pits.
The REP study reinvigorated Resolute’s Ravenswood operations, with open pit operations at the Nolans East deposit having commenced in August 2016.