Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) has advised the Australian Stock Exchange of significant improvements to the Ravenswood Expansion Project (REP) by virtue of government approvals.
The company said it has allowed the adoption of an optimised mining and processing schedule, a revised processing and tailings management strategy, and the incorporation of new technologies to improve efficiency.
It has also updated production targets including longer mine life and decreased costs.
Ravenswood is an historic gold mine located around 90 kilometres out east of Charters Towers.
The updated REP is expected to deliver 1.5 million ounces (Moz) of gold production over 13 years.
Mine life has been extended by three years to 2031 from the original REP study (REP Study). The Life of Mine (LOM) All-In Sustaining Cost (AISC) has reduced to A$1,097 per ounce (oz) (US$823/oz), from A$1,166/oz (US$880/oz), with associated LOM project capital of A$327 million. Average production will be approximately 115,000oz of gold per year.
A significant benefit of the REP Update is the deferment of approximately A$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 the acceleration of the Buck Reef West open pit and has significantly reduced required initial project capital. REP capital expenditure in FY19 is expected to be A$33 million.
Managing Director and CEO, Mr. John Welborn, was pleased that the REP Update further demonstrates 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. 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.”
“Resolute has a commitment to continual improvement of our assets through exploration, adopting available technology, and disciplined investment in operational expansions and improvements. A simplified tailings management strategy has been developed in the REP Update which will have significant operating benefits. Beneficiation test work has confirmed the unique properties of the Sarsfield deposits will enable a simple pre-milling upgrade. 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 (see ASX Announcement dated 21 September 2016). The REP Study reinvigorated Resolute’s Ravenswood operations and enabled a transition back to open pit mining, with open pit operations at the Nolans East deposit having commenced in August 2016.
The REP Study contemplated the following sequence:
• Increase in processing capacity to 2.8 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) from October 2016;
• Approval for mining of Sarsfield open pit in January 2017;
• Mt Wright underground closure in mid-2017;