The new owners of the Ravenswood gold operation plan to start full-scale open-pit mining by the last quarter of 2020, boosting local jobs by about 150.
The North Queensland operation officially changed hands last week after successful completion of the transaction between Resolute Mining and the EMR GEAR Consortium.
The new entity in control of the operation is called Ravenswood Gold and it is keen to go ahead with the long-touted Ravenswood Expansion Project, according to chief executive officer Brett Fletcher.
“Our intention is to commence full-scale open-pit mining at Ravenswood at Buck Reef West,” Mr Fletcher said.
“We’re working through a number of work packages, including pit design and construction of a new tailings dam.”
Mr Fletcher said the entire Carpentaria Gold workforce employed by Resolute had been transferred over to the new owner.
“About 160 employees became Ravenswood Gold employees on April 1,” he said.
Mr Fletcher said the return to open-pit mining at Ravenswood was expected to create another 150 permanent positions between now and the end of the year.
Employment focus on NQ region
“Our intention is to employ as many of those people as we can from the local area – and by that I mean Ravenswood, Charters Towers, Townsville, Ayr and Home Hill regions,” he said
“That is pretty much where we get 99.9 per cent of the workforce at the moment.”
Ravenswood Gold has yet to determine if the new mine will be an owner-operator business model or mined by a contractor.
Resolute received upfront consideration of $100 million for the Ravenswood gold operation, comprising $50 million of cash, $50 million of deferred consideration via the issue of a promissory note which attracts interest at 6 per cent per annum, and additional upside exposure through two further notes which may result in payments of up to $200 million to Resolute Mining.
Realising the Ravenswood Expansion Project is expected to take a capital investment of about $200 million.
The operation is presently confined to treating low-grade stockpiles following the winding down of production from the nearby Mount Wright mine late last year.
Mr Fletcher said Ravenswood Gold would be looking to use the existing processing plant at maximum capacity, about 5Mtpa, with potential to expand to 7-8Mtpa when required.
“We are looking to commence mining and processing Buck Reef West at 5Mtpa and then expanding as this mine ramps up and Sarsfield-Nolan (deposits) is incorporated into the mine plan,” he said.
Mr Fletcher said Ravenswood Gold was already engaged in talks with various equipment manufacturers and mining contractors in preparation for mining at Buck Reef West.
Ravenswood Gold exploration commitment
In addition to this, Mr Fletcher said the company was also committed to near mine and regional exploration and would be looking to provide further detail on these programs over the coming months.
He said the company was in the fortunate position of being able to continue operating despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Ravenswood Gold took the health threat to workers and their communities extremely seriously and was taking precautions including temperature checks of all workers, limiting visits by non-essential workers and extra hygiene measures on site, he said.