Resolute Mining has completed the Ravenswood Expansion Project Feasibility Study, defining a $258 million plan to extend mining operations at the North Queensland gold town by recommencing open-pit mining in the Nolans East, Sarsfield, and Buck Reef West pits.
Resolute managing director and chief executive officer John Welborn described the outcome as a tremendous achievement for the company.
“A year ago we were facing the prospect of closing our operations at Ravenswood when the Mt Wright underground
reserves were exhausted,” he said.
“We now look forward with confidence to a highly profitable 13-year mine life at Ravenswood as we return to open pit mining at Sarsfield and Buck Reef West. Combined with the 12-year mine life at Syama (Mali), Resolute’s gold business now possesses a combination of longevity and scale unrivalled amongst our peer group.”
Innovative solutions and a staged approach to development had resulted in increased annual production estimates and low
operating costs, he said.
The extension project will involve start-up capital of $134 million for pre-stripping and a staged processing plant expansion to 5Mtpa, with an expected life of mine project capital of $258 million staged over six years.
The REP Study contemplates the following development sequence:
– Mt Wright underground operations continuing until eventual closure in mid-2017;
– Mining under way, with first ore processed in September 2016 from Nolans East;
– Increase in processing capacity to 2.8Mtpa from October 2016;
– Approval for mining of Sarsfield open pit in January 2017;
– Approval for mining of Buck Reef West open pit in mid-2018; and
– Expansion of mill capacity to 5Mtpa to commence in FY18.”
“Ravenswood is a major gold field, having produced over 3 million ounces of gold,” Mr Welborn said.
“Resolute now has ore reserves of 1.8 million ounces and total resources of 4.3 million ounces. Establishing a development plan to ensure a long life, low-cost open-pit operation to follow MtWright has been a key priority for our business.
“With the successful completion of the REP Study, Resolute is well placed to take advantage of the strong Australian gold price and continue our
positive operating performance at Ravenswood and maintain our diversified production base between Australia and Africa.”
The REP Study had also identified further significant potential upside at Ravenswood, with projects such as Welcome
Breccia and other regional prospects offering the potential to augment the open pit ore with high-grade underground
feed, he said.
In addition, opportunities for further cost reduction, such as owner operator mining, were yet to be assessed.