Just weeks after stacking ore onto the recently built second heap leach pad at Central Asia Resources’ Dalabai gold mine in southern Kazakhstan, a series of equipment failures has forced operations to be suspended.
The company had planned to bring the second pad into operation to help increase monthly gold production to 2000 ounces, however the equipment failures have delayed the commissioning of the second pad and resulted in a subsequent fall in gold production.
Under the current schedule the delays mean that irrigation of the second pad would occur in the winter months, which is technically unfeasible. Central Asia Resources says the temporary shutdown will continue until spring 2013.
The company’s chairman Guy Warwick says the forced shutdown will offer some benefits to improve efficiencies at the plant. “The temporary suspensions of operations at Dalabai over winter will allow the now well understood and necessary improvements to the processing plant, looking to deal with both the mercury and copper deposition issues, building up a critical spare parts inventory, and further streamlining of the organizational structure.”
Central Asia Resources has also reached agreement with Millstar Holdings SA to extend the Aus$3 million loan until June 2014 and is also in discussions with other companies regarding financing the resumption of production. The company had managed to finance the construction of the second pad from internal resources, despite the fall in gold production.
Central Asia acquired the Dalabai project in 2008 and has spent the last few years developing the heap leach operation at the site. Mining commenced 12 months ago and processing began in February this year with the first 181 ounces of gold recovered in April.