In a move that builds on the growing momentum in Tasmania’s mining sector, Hellyer Gold Mines will soon start reprocessing tailings from previous mining operations at the Hellyer Mine on Tasmania’s West Coast, Australia.
Hellyer Gold Mines director Steve White says tailings from former mining activities will be reprocessed on-site, in the refurbished and modernised existing processing plant using modern technology and processes to extract the remaining minerals rather than breaking new ground.
“The existing tailings dam has roughly 9.5Mt of material containing high grade gold, silver, lead, zinc and Pyrite which will become fertiliser, iron and clean energy will be recovered by the new operation.
“Employees and contractors are currently working on the world-class processing plant to make it operational after six years under care and maintenance”, said Mr White.
The EPA has given approval for Hellyer Gold to operate until at least 2028, with any previous environmental damage and contamination being repaired as the recovery operation proceeds
“When operating, tailings will be pumped from the tailings dam to the processing plant, where the remaining minerals will be extracted for export.
“Once the tailings are re-processed there will be a roughly 50 per cent reduction in volume and the residue will be stored in a new, modern tailings dam on site. The existing tailings dam will remain as a lake once it’s emptied.” Mr White said.
Mr White said Hellyer Gold Mines is approaching the project in a very careful, methodical manner and is striving to earn and maintain the community’s support to operate.
“We are cognisant of our need to operate to the highest possible environmental standards and have implemented a very robust and comprehensive environmental management system. Further, we have commenced remediation work using local contractors on previous operator’s legacy issues.
“The project has a fully developed transport and animal protection plan and will be the first private project in Tasmania to use virtual fencing onsite. This system emits a high pitch sound when a vehicle approaches, scaring any animals away from the road.” Mr White said.
Hellyer Gold Mines is employing as many local people and contractors as possible and it is envisaged that once the operation is up and running, approximately 50 people will be employed full-time.
Hellyer Gold intends to commence production in September/October this year, once the processing plant is refurbished, commissioned and operational.
The Hellyer mill and tailings storages are located on the edge of the Que River plateau, approximately 700 m above sea level, with the Southwell River Valley to the East.
Historically, the Hellyer Mine produced 15 million tonnes of ore in the 11 years it was in operation from 1989, that yielded 601,000 tonnes of bulk concentrate, 2.7 million tonnes of zinc concentrate and 728,000 tonnes of lead concentrate. During this period the mine employed 300 personnel and created $1.3 billion in gross revenue.