Havilah Resources has agreed on an accelerated mining plan with its partner Consolidated Mining and Civil (CMC) for the Portia Gold Project in South Australia. The plan is expected to deliver first gold ore in April, three months ahead of schedule.

CMC is now implementing this revised mine plan and estimates that it will take about two months to remove the now considerably reduced volume of overburden to access first ore, amounting to about 600,000 cubic metres. On this basis first gold ore could now be delivered on the surface by early April.

The mining experience gained by Havilah and CMC at Portia over the past six months, plus the results of extensive geotechnical studies, have provided the confidence to modify the original whole of pit mining plan to a staged plan that sees development of an interim sub-pit on the high grade northern ore zone.

An advantage of this mine plan is that the remaining overburden in the western part of the open pit can continue to be removed, while the approximately 2000 tonnes/day of ore required for the processing plant can be mined from the floor of the interim sub-pit.

The accelerated mining plan requires a compressed time frame for construction of the processing plant if it is to be ready in time for treatment of first gold ore delivery. Havilah’s operational team is focused on achieving this challenging objective.

Currently, most of the critical plant components are either fully complete or substantially complete. Concrete footings have been poured on site and over the next few weeks there will be a continual stream of equipment being transported to site and placed on the footings. A contract for all electrical installation has been finalised with an experienced Broken Hill based contractor.

A senior metallurgist, who is experienced in the operation of gold plants, has been employed to oversee the commissioning, staffing and operation of the processing plant. His skills, which are complementary to other members of the Portia operational team, provide Havilah with a further measure of comfort that it can deliver on the processing plant and operate it efficiently.

To date, as the result of the negotiation of favourable payment terms for processing plant components, elimination of discretionary spending and diligent cash management, the $6 million Investec loan facility has not been drawn. As equipment deliveries take place over the next few weeks, draw down of this facility will commence.

Havilah’s managing director Dr Chris Giles says the prospect of earlier delivery of gold bearing ore to surface is a welcome development. “The innovative revised mining plan provides the opportunity for us to access the gold ore three months earlier for no additional cost, which potentially brings forward cash flow from gold sales.

“Once again we are fortunate in being able to call on CMC for assistance with the concrete work and use of their cranes, which has helped to speed up our onsite construction activities.”

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