Aeris Resources has started work on a new multi-stage tailings storage facility at the Cracow gold mine in Central Queensland, flagging its confidence in an extended life for the operation.
The company said the first stage was expected to be completed by June at an estimated cost of $14 million.
“Investing in a multi-stage tailings storage facility with a capacity greater than five years reflects our investment thesis that the Cracow mine life can be extended by a sustained high-quality exploration effort,” the company stated in its latest quarterly report.
Aeris Resources acquired the Cracow gold operations from Evolution Mining in a $125 million deal last year.
Since Aeris took ownership, one of the key focuses has been mine life extension – with the company budgeting $13 million for exploration activities over two years.
An updated mineral resource estimate for the Roses Pride deposit was
completed during the quarter, representing a 260 per cent increase in total contained gold ounces.
The updated mineral resource contains 177,000 tonnes at 4.6 grams per tonne gold for 26.1 thousand ounces of gold.
Work on an updated mineral resource estimate for the Klondyke and Royal
deposits commenced during the quarter and a detailed geological review has also identified a significant number of targets in proximity to current underground workings.
Cracow operations produced 18,011 ounces of gold in the December quarter at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $1567/oz.
Aeris said its processing team had been actively working towards de-bottlenecking the crushing circuit and the processing plant over the past few months, with the goal of increasing mill throughput and metal recovered.
This had started to yield results, with the mill achieving a number of throughput tonnage records in the December quarter, the company said.
These included highest daily milled tonnes: 1,951dmt on October 14, highest weekly milled tonnes: 13,103dmt October 11–17, highest monthly milled tonnes: 53,942dmt in October 2020, and highest quarterly milled tonnes: 160,446dmt in Q2 FY21.
“The processing team have now clearly demonstrated the processing plant has an annual capacity of 600,000 tonnes, exceeding the previous assumed limit of 570,000 tonnes per annum,” the company said.
“Over the coming months a number of low-cost debottlenecking capital projects will commence to ensure the increased throughput rate can be sustained.”