Resolute Mining has extended the mine life of the Ravenswood gold operations in Queensland through the Ravenswood Expansion Project (REP), now expecting to end operations in 2032.
|Ravenswood geology and open pit|
According to Resolute, the successful receipt of all required government approvals has allowed the adoption of an optimised mining and processing schedule, a revised processing and tailings management strategy, and the incorporation of new technologies to improve efficiency.
The updated REP is expected to deliver 1.5 million ounces (Moz) of gold production over 13 years, with the Life of Mine (LOM) All-In Sustaining Cost (AISC) reduced to A$1,097 per ounce (oz) (US$823/oz), from A$1,166/oz (US$880/oz), with associated LOM project capital of A$327 million. Average production is anticipated to be approximately 115,000oz of gold per year.
Additionally, the update has also resulted in the deferment of approximately A$100 million of major project capital as a result of the extension of underground mining at Mt Wright, which was expected to close in mid-2017 but has now been revised to the final quarter of 2019.
According to a company release, the receipt of all major project approvals allows the acceleration of the Buck Reef West open pit and has significantly reduced required initial project capital. REP capital expenditure in FY19 is expected to be A$33 million.
“Ravenswood has been an integral part of Resolute’s business for more than a decade,” said Managing Director & CEO, Mr. John Welborn. “Resolute has a commitment to continual improvement of our assets through exploration, adopting available technology, and disciplined investment in operational expansions and improvements. A simplified tailings management strategy has been developed in the REP Update which will have significant operating benefits. Beneficiation test work has confirmed the unique properties of the Sarsfield deposits will enable a simple pre-milling upgrade. This work creates an opportunity to re-examine the large waste rock stockpiles accumulated during earlier mining which now represent further potential.”
Resolute has updated the Ravenswood LOM plan to include revised mining and processing schedules and tailings disposal strategies.
The revised REP mining and processing sequence is as follows:
• Mining at Mt Wright to be extended to the end of FY19, with mining and processing of a further of 540kt of ore in the current financial year;
• Mining of Nolans East to be completed in September 2018, with processing of stockpiled ore supplemented by existing low-grade stocks to the end of 2019;
• Processing plant to be upgraded to 3.2Mtpa (currently 2.8Mtpa) by the start of 2020;
• Mining and processing of the Buck Reef West open pit from July 2019 (Stage 1);
• Expansion of the Nolans processing plant to 5.0Mtpa in FY24; and
• Mining and processing of ore from the Sarsfield open pit from FY25 (Stage 2).
This sequence is expected to reduce upfront capital costs in bringing Buck Reef West (Stage 1) into production, while the adoption of a conventional TSF, via potential extension of the existing Nolans TSF will simplify the operation and is expected to reduce LOM capital and operating costs for tailings deposition and storage.