Ausmex Mining Group is continuing a dewatering program at the historical Mount Freda open-cut gold mine as it works towards a planned start to underground mining.
Underground operations were expected to commence in early 2021, subject to the completion of resource upgrade work, scoping and cost studies, prefeasibility study and gold price, the company said.
In its quarterly update Ausmex said more than 150 million litres of water had been removed from the pit, exposing the lower declines which were the subject of upgrade resource drilling.
“On completion of the bulk dewatering operations, the company will commence the next stage as we move to mining, by preparing the construction of an access ramp to the bottom of the pit,” managing dierctor Aaron Day said.
“The access development will allow machines to remove the rock waste from wall slippage and the silt from the open pit. It will also allow access into the pit by the geotechnical crew to investigate the rock stability, and to take samples for geotechnical analysis.”
Previous mining of the Mount Freda orebody by DMR in late 1980s recorded a head grade of over 5g/t gold before dilution and recovered 4.2g/t gold via processing in the CIP plant.
Ausmex had considered mining by vertical shaft but has since reappraised its approach after consultations with underground mining engineering groups.
As part of the scoping study for costings, it is in discussions with a number of underground contractors to mine the Mount Freda orebody by decline method.
The scoping study for Mt Freda is based on a mining operation of 250,000tpa, using a 4m x 4m decline.
Ausmex also has a scoping study underway for the Golden Mile Project, which incorporates the former Comstock, Falcon and Shamrock gold mines.
The Golden Mile project – just 500m north of Mount Freda – is a joint venture between Ausmex (80 per cent) and WH Soul Pattison’s subsidiary Round Oak Minerals.
WH Soul Pattison has a binding agreement with Ausmex that requires all of the ore won from the Golden Mile and or the JV ground to be processed at Round Oak’s CIP processing plant in Cloncurry.