Tropicana gold mine joint venture partners AngloGold Ashanti and Independence Group have ignited the first blast at the Boston Shaker underground development in Western Australia.
The blast marked a timely start of Boston Shaker’s development, which is scheduled to pour first gold in the September quarter next year.
A video of the blast was broadcast on Twitter. It shows an operational handover to the shotfirers to finalise preparations and the pushing of the button for the blast.
Boston Shaker will contribute an average of 100,000 ounces of gold every year, maintaining Tropicana’s production at between 450,000–500,000 ounces over the next five years.
“It’s a very exciting day. It’s tremendous to start a new underground mine,” AngloGold Ashanti senior vice president Mike Erickson said.
“Tropicana’s been a tremendously successful open pit and we’ve started the underground mine on schedule – just a fantastic achievement and a great credit to the team.”
Macmahon Holdings, which has been awarded a five-year, $170 million mining services contract for the underground mine, was involved in achieving the milestone. Tropicana is the site of Macmahon’s largest mining contract in Australia.
The Tropicana JV expects the expanded ore production from Boston Shaker to capitalise on investments made at the site’s processing plant, including the second ball mill, which was commissioned last November and increases annual throughput to 8.1 million tonnes.
Boston Shaker’s ore reserve is estimated at 2.8 million tonnes at grades of 3.84 grams a tonne for 317,000 ounces of gold. Tropicana is 70 per cent owned and managed by AngloGold, with IGO holding the remaining 30 per cent share.