New test work is hoped to reduce extraction costs for proposed tailings reprocessing at the old Tick Hill gold mine, 110km south-east of Mount Isa.
The site was mined in the 1990s by Carpentaria Gold – producing 513,333 ounces of gold from 705,000 tonnes of ore at a recovered grade of 22.6 g/t gold.
Under the plans announced by Diatreme and joint venture partner Superior Resources this week, a new phase of test work will explore the potential for a reprocessing operation based on a gravity separation circuit, instead of a conventional CIP/CIL operation.
A recent scoping study showed that while gold recoveries of up to 96 per cent were achievable through cynaide leaching, capital and operating costs were relatively high based on a forecast gold price of $1467 per ounce, Diatreme said.
Diatreme chief executive officer Neil McIntyre said the new tests, expected to take about two weeks, should help speed the delivery of near-term cash flow from the historically rich former mine.
“Current gold prices of around $US1300 an ounce ($AU1700) show the immediate value of this reprocessing operation,” Mr McIntyre said.
“With the potential for slashing capex and opex costs, we may further enhance the financial viability of this project, decrease the timeline to actual operations, and increase potential returns for shareholders.”
In January 2016 Diatreme announced a maiden mineral resource estimate for material located within the rehabilitated tailings dam at Tick Hill. The indicated resource is estimated at 630,000 tonnes at 1.08g/t gold, containing 680kg (22,000 troy ounces) of gold.