Resolute Mining has passed a key hurdle for the recommencement of mining at the Sarsfield open pit at its Ravenswood gold operations, with the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection issuing a draft Amended Environmental Authority.
The parties who commented on the original EIS submission in 2012 will now be provided with the draft amended Environmental Authority for final comment and the company said it expected the final Environmental Authority for Sarsfield to be granted in March 2017, provided there were no delays in the review process.
Mining of the Sarsfield open pit is a central element of the planned $285 million Ravenswood Expansion Project to extend Resolute’s local operations for a further 13 years to at least 2029 and increase average annual gold production to more than 120,000 ounces.
Managing director and chief executive officer John Welborn said he was pleased Resolute was continuing to receive strong support from the Queensland government.
“Re-commencing mining activities in the Sarsfield pit is a critically important aspect of our plans to expand production and extend mine life at Ravenswood,” he said.
“A number of important improvements have been incorporated into our plans which have boosted the economic results of the project and enhanced the future environmental outcomes. We are actively involved with all project stakeholders and look forward to continuing to work with the Queensland Government to confirm all required approvals for the Ravenswood Expansion Project.”
The Ravenswood Expansion Project contemplates the following development sequence:
Mt Wright underground operations continuing until eventual closure during 2017;
Open pit mining recommenced from Nolans East and continuing during 2017;
Processing capacity increased to 2.8 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa);
Regulatory approvals for recommencement of mining at Sarsfield expected in early 2017;
Regulatory approvals for open pit mining of Buck Reef West expected in mid-2018; and
Expansion of the mill to 5Mtpa during FY2018.
Resolute said the proposal’s Prescribed Project status, announced in December, was expected to significantly streamline administrative decisions and ensure essential project regulatory approvals are received on a timely basis via the assistance of the Coordinator Generals department.
Resolute will now commence the formal approval process for the Buck Reef West Project. It is anticipated that environmental approvals for Buck Reef West will be obtained by mid-2018.